India And China Defense Ministers To Meet At SCO Forum This Week To Discuss Border Dispute

Indian and Chinese military commanders met along their disputed Himalayan border over the weekend ahead of a planned meeting of their defense ministers at a Shanghai Cooperation Organization session later this week.
The neighbors, who share a 3,488 Km (2,167 miles)-long disputed border, have been locked in their worst dispute in four decades since the summer of 2020. Previous meetings of diplomats and 17 rounds of military-level talks have yielded only incremental progress. 
The neighbors have amassed thousands of troops, artillery guns, tanks and fighters along their frontier. Deescalation — sending troops back to their home bases and disengagement — was discussed over the weekend, the officials said, asking not to be named since discussions were private.
“They held an in depth exchange of views on expediting the resolution of relevant issues,” Mao Ning, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said at a regular press briefing in Beijing Monday. India’s External Affairs Ministry separately said in a statement that the two sides exchanged views in an “open and candid” manner and agreed to maintain the security and stability on the ground. 
India wants troops to pull back from the friction points and return to their home bases. Beijing wants the opposite — for the additional troops and hardware to return to their barracks, leaving the areas of dispute to be discussed later. 
The latest round of talks precedes a meeting of defense ministers from both sides, along with their counterparts from Russia, Pakistan and Central Asian nations like Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan expected later this week. India is hosting the SCO summit this year, as well as the Group of 20 nations.
The flat Tibetan plateau allows China to mobilize troops quickly. Indian troops need to negotiate high-altitude mountain passes and ridges making New Delhi reluctant to agree to Beijing’s prescription.

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