New Delhi: Amid reports of fresh incursions by Chinese troops in Ladakh's Chumar sector, India and China on Tuesday began two-day talks as part of a border mechanism to ensure peace and tranquility on their disputed boundary.

The third meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs is led on the Indian side by Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary (East Asia) in the External Afffairs Ministry and also includes representatives of the Defence and Home Ministries, as well as other officials.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said in a statement that the meeting is part of a regular series of interactions between both sides. The first meeting was held in March 2012 and the last in November, 2012.

"I would like to clarify that these meetings are held between composite delegations of India and China. On our side it is being led by the Ministry of External Affairs, but it also has officials of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs and other organizations dealing with border affairs. Similarly, on the Chinese side too there is a composite delegation," he said.

He said that the meeting "deals with all issues related to peace and tranquility on the border since the last meeting in November 2012". He clarified that the meeting would not deal with boundary issues "as those are being handled by the Special Representatives of both sides. Also, the meeting does not discuss the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement because there are separate mechanisms to deal with that".

The reported incursion by Chinese troops in Chumar comes after the three-week intrusion by Peoples Liberation Army troops on April 15 in Ladakh's Depsang area. The Depsang intrusion, which led to heightening of tension between both sides, was resolved following intense negotiations through their joint mechanisms for resolving such issues.

According to reports, Chinese troops on horseback crossed the Line of Actual Control on three occasions - on July 16, 17 and 20 in Chumar and on one occasion held posters asking the Indian forces to ‘vacate Chinese territory’.

India is in a relatively sound position with roads and surveillance towers in Chumar, which the Chinese are unhappy over.

(Agencies)

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