India making ‘unreasonable, unrealistic demands’: China says after border talks

China on Monday accused India of “unreasonable and unrealistic demands” in an unusually aggressive statement issued at the end of the 13th round of military talks held on Sunday to resolve the dragging 17-month standoff in the Ladakh area.

The meeting between India’s Ladakh Corps Commander and Chinese South Xinjiang military district commander took place on Sunday on the Chinese side of the Moldo-Chushul border meeting point.

A brief statement issued by the western theatre command (WTC) and published by several state-run media outlets gave little details of the talks but struck a critical note.

India has repeatedly and consistently rejected China’s allegations that Indian troops crossed over to the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, asserting that New Delhi has always taken a responsible approach towards border management and maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas.

The Chinese statement issued on Monday morning quoted WTC spokesperson Colonel Long Shaohua as saying that China had made “…great efforts to promote the easing and cooling of the border situation and fully demonstrated its sincerity in order to maintain the overall situation of the relations between the two militaries.

“However, India still insisted on the unreasonable and unrealistic demands, which made the negotiations more difficult,’ he added. China’s resolve to safeguard national sovereignty is firm, Long said.

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Long said China hopes “…India will show sincerity, take actions and work with China to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the border areas”.

The tone of the Chinese statement is an indication of the differences that exist between the two countries on the ongoing standoff, which has plunged bilateral ties to its worst in decades.

In August, Indian and Chinese troops had withdrawn from the Gogra area in eastern Ladakh, which marked the second round of disengagement in 2021.

It came six months after India and China pulled back troops from Pangong Tso, an icy Himalayan lake.

India and China have been locked in a border row for 17 months, a phase that witnessed the deadly skirmish in the Galwan Valley on 15 June 2020 when troops from both sides fought for hours with iron rods, clubs covered with barbed wire and rocks. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash, the first fatalities on the LAC since 1975.

China did not acknowledge casualties on its side till February this year when it admitted the death of four soldiers and made a renewed effort to blame India for tensions on the LAC. Chinese state media outlets followed up the official announcement with videos and write-ups, urging the Chinese citizens to remember the “martyrs” and how four PLA soldiers sacrificed their lives while defending the country’s western borders.

Ahead of Sunday’s talks, Chinese official media and social media handles renewed their shrill propaganda blaming India for the border tension.

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