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28 Mar, 2024 18:50

New Delhi and Beijing hold border talks

India and China have continued negotiations on a complete disengagement after the 2020 incident in Galwan Valley
New Delhi and Beijing hold border talks

India and China on Wednesday held a fresh round of talks over border tensions that in 2020 led to a deadly clash between the two countries' troops. The discussions yielded no major breakthroughs despite both nations expressing a commitment to achieving complete disengagement and resolving the remaining issues. 

A statement from New Delhi on Thursday noted the two sides had an “in-depth” exchange of views on how to achieve “complete disengagement” and resolve the issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border between the two nuclear powers. According to a statement by India’s External Affairs Ministry, the sides have also agreed to maintain “regular contact” through “diplomatic and military channels” to uphold the peace. This was the 29th round of talks on the issue.  

The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s readout noted that both sides “positively evaluated the progress” made in maintaining the situation at the border under control. “The two sides agreed to focus on the relevant issues on the ground along the border, reach a solution acceptable to both sides as soon as possible,” the statement added. 

The two Asian powers engaged in verbal sparring earlier this month over Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, a region along the disputed border that China claims as its own and calls Zangnan. Beijing criticized Modi’s trip to the region to inaugurate a new tunnel that could hasten the deployment of Indian troops to the disputed area. New Delhi responded by claiming that China was “advancing absurd claims.” “Repeating baseless arguments in this regard does not lend such claims any validity,” it maintained.  

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Indian Foreign Ministry reiterated that the country’s stance on Arunachal Pradesh had been made “very clear.” “China may repeat its baseless claims as many times as they want, that is not going to change our position,” New Delhi’s spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said during a media briefing in New Delhi. “Arunachal Pradesh was, is, and will remain an integral and inalienable part of India.” 

Meanwhile, the US has sought to weigh in on the matter, stating that it has recognized Arunachal Pradesh as part of India. Beijing, meanwhile, asserted that the “China-India boundary question is a matter between the two countries and has nothing to do with the US side.” 

Last week, Modi also traveled to Bhutan, a Himalayan nation nestled between India and China, just a week after he hosted the new Bhutanese premier, Tshering Tobgay, in New Delhi. During the visit, which was aimed at strengthening bilateral ties given competition with China in the region, Modi received the country’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Druk Gyalpo, from the King of Bhutan.

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