New Delhi: India and China appear deadlocked on the issue of Chinese troop incursions in Ladakh and after two failed flag meetings, India is trying for another one. Meanwhile, Beijing wants Delhi to stop infrastructure development in the area.
China has pitched its demands high insisting that India dismantle fortified positions in Ladakh and stop what it calls aggressive patrolling. India says dismantling infrastructure is not an option and there is no aggressive patrolling by Indian Army. India also says that China must withdraw its troops from Indian territory.
Defence Minister AK Antony said, "Negotiations are going on at various levels to resolve the issue peacefully. Our government will take every step to protect the national integrity and security."
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said, "Flag meetings are taking place but we are not completely satisfied with the situation. But talks are still going on."
India's military options are limited - its 70,000 troops and air power are far less compared to China's estimated two lakh troops backed by fighters jets, missile bases and radar stations. The road network in Ladakh is poor while China's is highly developed.
Nobody expects the current standoff to escalate into war but it underscores once again that the unresolved border lies at the core of the India-China relationship. China's aggressive territorial claims only deepen the suspicion in India that war could be thrust upon us.