Third flag meet likely as China sticks to stand on incursion into Ladakh

FPArmy Chief Bikram Singh near Jammu, Wednesday

With the border faceoff in Depsang valley still unresolved, India is likely to seek a third flag meeting this week. China has been insistent that its troops have not crossed the border.

The flag meeting could be held as early as Friday, even though it was unclear on Wednesday what strategy India was likely to adopt. The second flag meeting on Tuesday collapsed after China asked the Indian Army to destroy some of its positions in eastern Ladakh as a precondition for pulling back. Also read: Freeze troop levels at border, says China in draft pact

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying Wednesday denied any incursion into Indian territory by the People's Liberation Army. "The Chinese side has confined activities to within the Chinese border and never trespassed across the line," Hua said.

The spokesperson stressed that both India and China must stick to the consensus on keeping the LAC peaceful. "The two sides should abide by their consensus which is in the interest of both. The two sides should work together to properly resolve border issues within the framework of existing mechanisms and create favourable conditions for bilateral relations."

This has been Beijing's standard position on transgressions across the LAC, given that its claim line differs from what India considers to be the boundary. Both sides enter the areas they claim, but standoffs like the current one which began after the Chinese erected tents on disputed territory on April 15 are rare.

"Negotiations are going on at various levels to resolve the issue peacefully," Defence Minister A K Antony said in Bangalore on Wednesday. The government, he said, will take "every step to protect national integrity and security".

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