India and China hold talks in Beijing over border tensions

Both countries sent tens of thousands of soldiers to mountainous frontier after flare-ups in 2020

An Indian Army convoy in Ladakh during the stand-off on the border with China last year. AP
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Indian and Chinese officials have held diplomatic talks in Beijing on their border stand-off, with the aim of restoring peace along a disputed area known as the Line of Actual Control, India’s Foreign Ministry said.

Wednesday's talks were the first face-to-face negotiations since July 2019, when a Working Mechanism for Consultation and Co-ordination on India-China Border Affairs meeting was held.

The two countries have had frosty diplomatic relations since deadly clashes in 2020, when their troops fought in the Himalayan Ladakh region.

The nuclear-armed nations share a nearly 4,000km undemarcated border known as the Line of Actual Control, or LAC, which runs through the Himalayas from Ladakh in the north to eastern Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

The joint secretary from the Ministry of External Affairs led the Indian delegation. The Chinese delegation was led by the director general of the Boundary and Oceanic Affairs Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The two sides reviewed the situation along the LAC in the western sector of India-China border areas and discussed proposals for disengagement in the remaining areas in an open and constructive manner,” India's Foreign Ministry said.

“This would help in restoration of peace and tranquillity … and create conditions for restoration of normalcy in bilateral relations.”

The co-ordination group began online meetings amid the coronavirus pandemic soon after the skirmishes along the LAC in May 2020 that left 20 Indian soldiers and three Chinese soldiers dead.

The violence led to the mobilisation of tens of thousands of soldiers from both sides to the high-altitude border. A war fought there in 1962 resulted in the deaths of thousands of soldiers on both sides.

While troops disengaged from a stand-off in Eastern Ladakh in September, the contentious issues related to the boundary remain.

Officials agreed to hold an 18th round of high-level talks between senior military commanders of India and China to achieve their objectives in accordance with existing agreements and protocols.

“They agreed to hold the next round of the Senior Commanders' meeting at an early date. The two sides agreed to continue discussions through military and diplomatic channels,” the ministry said.

Chinese troops allegedly entered the Yangtze region in Tawang Sector in Arunachal Pradesh in remote north-eastern India in December last year.

Arunachal Pradesh has been historically claimed by China as part of the Tibet region.

Updated: February 23, 2023, 8:15 AM