The China Study Group (CSG) is expected to carry out a comprehensive review of the military talks between India and China on the over five-month-long border standoff in eastern Ladakh, government sources said on October 14, as a breakthrough for speedy disengagement of troops remained elusive.
India and China have held seven rounds of military talks at the Corps commander level with the latest meeting on October 12 lasting nearly 12 hours. An Indian military official said though the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) showed willingness to resolve the standoff through talks, it is yet to make any clear move on the ground to de-escalate the situation.
India has all along been maintaining that the onus is on China to carry forward the process of disengagement and de-escalation at the friction points in the mountainous region. It is also learnt that the Chinese delegation put forth a proposal at the Monday talks to kickstart the disengagement process.
The CSG, which is India's key policy making body on China, will have detailed deliberations on the proposal. The details of the proposal were not known. The CSG comprises Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs.
In a joint press statement, the armies of India and China on October 13 described the latest talks as "positive and constructive", and said it was agreed to maintain dialogue and communication to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution for disengagement "as early as possible".
Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong, meanwhile, said as two major neighbouring countries, it is normal for India and China to have differences but they should be properly resolved through dialogue.
"Recently, the bilateral relations have encountered some difficulties and challenges. As two major neighbouring countries, it is normal to have differences. We need to put differences in an appropriate place in bilateral relations, properly manage and resolve them through dialogue and consultation and not allow differences to become disputes," he added.
The envoy was speaking at an event to commemorate the 110th birth anniversary of Indian doctor Dwarkanath Kotnis who served in China during the Chinese revolution led by Mao Zedong. "The common interests of the two countries far outweigh the frictions and differences. I believe that with the joint efforts of both sides, we have the wisdom and ability to overcome difficulties and bring bilateral relations back on track to forge ahead," he said.
Sun also paid glowing tributes to Dr Kotnis. "It is a spirit of heroism with no fear of sacrifice. Dr Kotnis, along with the medical team from India, went through untold hardships and travelled thousands of miles to Yan'an," he said.
"After he learned of his father passing away in India, Dr Kotnis endured great grief and continued marching to the battlefield without hesitation," the Ambassador added.