The military talks between India and China kicked off once more at Chushul in Eastern Ladakh on Friday to resolve border dispute and start de-escalation of forces as soldiers were exposed to minus 20 degrees Celsius.
It is the eight Corps Commander level talks between both the countries and it began at 9.30 a.m. For the first time, Lieutenant General P.G.K. Menon will be leading the Indian military delegates during the talks.
Earlier, he attended two such talks but the delegation was led by then Lieutenant General Harinder Singh who was transferred last month to the Indian Military Academy (IMA) where he would be in charge of training the future generations of Army officers.
Joint Secretary from the Ministry of External Affairs Navin Srivastava will also be part of the delegation.
"We have firmly stated to China that disengagement will happen at all friction points and not at the selected locations as they want. Our stand is clear," said a top government source.
In a clear message to China, just ahead of talks to resolve border issue, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that India is facing challenges on its borders and will defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"India is a peace-loving country and that peace can only be ensured through the ability to deter war," Singh said while speaking at a webinar celebrating the Diamond Jubilee to mark 60 years of the National Defence College in Delhi.
The minister said: "We believe that differences should not become disputes. We attach importance to the peaceful resolution of differences through dialogue. India is determined to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of unilateralism and aggression, no matter what the sacrifice."
Earlier talks have ended up in deadlock with no sign of de-escalation of force at the Line of Actual Control.
Both the countries military top commanders met seven times in a bid to resolve the six month standoff. Last meeting happened on October 12 and that too ended up in a deadlock.
Further, so far both the countries have agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels, and arrive at a mutually acceptable solution for disengagement as early as possible.
On August 30, India had occupied critical mountain heights on the southern bank of the Pangong Lake like Rechin La, Rezang La, Mukpari, and Tabletop that were unmanned till now. India has also made some deployments near Blacktop also. The movement was carried out after the Chinese tried to make a provocative military move.
Now, dominance at these 13 peaks allows India to dominate Spangur Gap under Chinese control and also the Moldo garrison on the Chinese side.
India and China are engaged in a seven-month-long standoff at the LAC. Despite several levels of dialogue, there has not been any breakthrough and the deadlock continues.