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Commander of the Indian Army’s 14 Corps, Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, and Major Liu Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang military region, met on Tuesday as both sides continued to mass troops on either side of the line. After the meetings took place, the two sides agreed to try to ease tensions inflamed by a deadly clash on June 15. The two sides had previously met just over a week before the fatal skirmish, again on the Chinese side.
During the incident in the Galwan Valley, 20 Indian soldiers were killed and the Chinese suffered casualties, however, they have not yet disclosed the number.
The two countries have a long-running border dispute and even the Line of Actual Control that separates the territory held by each side is undefined, raising the risk of flashpoints.
The incident has fired nationalist sentiment in both countries, which may make it harder to reach a settlement.
Srikanth Kondapalli, a professor of Chinese studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, said Tuesday’s talks were held slightly earlier than expected, which suggested that last week’s meeting did not end on a positive note.
“The political leadership is not cooling down, and not much has happened in terms of disengagement. Instead, there’s been a massive mobilisation on both sides,” he said.
Following the talks between military leaders, Kondapalli said diplomats from both sides had taken “surprisingly stiff” positions.
Sun Weidong, China’s ambassador to New Delhi, has said India’s troops were to blame for crossing into Chinese territory, telling the Press Trust of India news agency that “the onus is not on China”.
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Meanwhile, India’s ambassador Vikram Misri warned of “ripples and repercussions” for the countries’ relationship.
He said it was “entirely the responsibility of China” to decide how it wanted ties between the countries to develop.
Calls for a boycott of Chinese goods are growing across India, and businesses have started to report that imports are being delayed at Indian ports.
The Indian government this week has also banned a total of 59 Chinese apps.
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This includes the popular video-sharing platforms TikTok, Baidu Maps and WeChat.
In an address to the nation on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi mourned the loss of the soldiers.
“A self-reliant India would be a tribute to our martyrs in the truest, deepest sense.”
Wang Dehua, a South Asia specialist at the Shanghai Municipal Centre for International Studies, said the clash had given a platform to those in India who favoured a hardline approach towards China.
This retaliation added to the difficulty of resolving the dispute.
“Modi has overcommitted himself to an aggressive stance on China, and anti-China sentiment in India is on the rise,” he said.
“It’s impossible to say what they will talk about at the meeting today, but it hopefully will be a slow process of alternating discussion and de-escalation.”
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