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NEW DELHI: With another round of talks on the border standoff with China likely soon, India on Thursday said it is necessary to ensure stability on the ground while the two sides work towards ensuring complete disengagement of troops in all friction areas in eastern Ladakh.

At a virtual media briefing, Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said disengagement is a complex process which would require mutually agreed “reciprocal actions“, and the way ahead will be to refrain from making any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo.

Separately, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said India and China are going through an “unprecedented” situation, but noted that the border row is one part of the larger issue of how the two countries adjust to each other when both are rising.

Speaking at a virtual conference of the World Economic Forum, he said it is important that China and India understand the need to accommodate each other’s rise.

“We are going through, in a sense, an unprecedented situation. But if one looks at it from a somewhat longer-term, I would say this is one facet of a larger phenomenon for which both India and China have to sit down and find a solution,” Jaishankar said when asked how ties between the two Asian giants will move forward.

At his media briefing, Srivastava said the next meeting under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs is likely to take place “soon”.

It is learnt that the WMCC talks will take place ahead of the next round of the Corps commander-level discussions.

“Even as two sides work towards complete disengagement in all friction areas, it is at the same time also necessary to ensure stability on the ground. The latest senior commanders meeting should be seen in this overall context,” he said.

India and China held the sixth round of Corps commander-level talks on Monday following which both sides announced a series of decisions including to stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground and avoid taking any actions that may further complicate matters.

The MEA spokesperson referred to the first ever joint press release issued by the two sides on Tuesday after any Corps commander-level meeting during the four-and-a-half-month standoff, adding it reflected their stated commitment to disengage along the Line of Actual Control(LAC).

“As we have pointed out earlier, disengagement is a complex process that requires redeployment of troops by each side towards their regular posts on their respective sides of the LAC. This would require mutually agreed reciprocal actions,” he said.

Srivastava also said the meeting gave the senior commanders an opportunity to have candid and in-depth exchange of views on stabilising the situation along the LAC.

“The way ahead will be to refrain from making any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo, while the two sides continue their discussions to achieve complete disengagement in all friction areas and to ensure full restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” he said.

He also mentioned about the decision of the two sides at the military talks to have the next meeting of the senior commanders at the earliest. “In parallel, the next meeting of the WMCC is also likely to take place soon.”

Referring to the military talks, Srivastava said the two sides had decided to strengthen the ground communication to avoid any further misunderstandings and misjudgments, stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground, and avoid taking any actions that may complicate the situation.

It was for the first time the Indian army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army(PLA) announced specific measures to ease tensions in eastern Ladakh where the face-off began in early May.

The situation escalated manifold after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash in Galwan Valley on June 15. The Chinese side too suffered casualties, but it is yet to divulge the details.

The situation further deteriorated following at least three attempts by the soldiers of the PLA to “intimidate” Indian troops along the northern and southern bank of Pangong lake area in the last three weeks where even shots were fired in the air for the first time at the LAC in 45 years.

As the tensions escalated further, the foreign ministers of the two countries held talks on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meet in Moscow on September 10 where they reached a five-point agreement to defuse the situation in eastern Ladakh.

The agreement was the basis for the sixth round of Corps commander-level talks on Monday which was also attended for the first time by a joint secretary from the MEA.

The agreement aimed at ending the tense standoff included measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the LAC.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

New Covid-19 cases in India dip below 50,000 for first time in nearly three months

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NEW DELHI: The number of new coronavirus infections reported daily in India dropped below 50,000 for the first time in nearly three months, taking the Covid-19 caseload to 75,97,063 on Tuesday, according to the Union Health Ministry.

A total of 46,790 fresh infections were reported in a day, while the death toll climbed to 1,15,197 with 587 fatalities being registered in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.

The number of new fatalities reported daily across the country was recorded below 600 for the second consecutive day.

The total recoveries crossed 67 lakh while active cases of coronavirus infection remained below 8 lakh for the fourth consecutive day.

The country had reported 47,703 new infections in a day on July 28.

There are 7,48,538 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 9.85 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.

A total 67,33,328 people have recuperated from the disease so far pushing the national recovery rate to 88.63 per cent while the case fatality rate due Covid-19 stands at 1.52 per cent.

India’s Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September. It went past 50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28 and crossed 70 lakh on October 11.

According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 9,61,16,771 samples have been tested up to October 19 with 10,32,795 samples being tested on Monday.

The 579 new fatalities include 125 from Maharashtra, 64 from Karnataka, 63 from West Bengal, 56 from Chhattisgarh, 49 from Tamil Nadu, and 31 from Delhi.

A total of 1,15,197 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 42,240 from Maharashtra followed by 10,691 from Tamil Nadu, 10,542 from Karnataka, 6,685 from Uttar Pradesh, 6,453 from Andhra Pradesh, 6,119 from West Bengal, 6,040 from Delhi, 4,029 from Punjab and 3,643 from Gujarat.

The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.

“Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research,” the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.

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INDIA

Two terrorists killed by security forces in operation in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian

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SHOPIAN: Two terrorists were killed by the security forces on Tuesday in an operation in the Melhora area of the Shopian district, the army said.

“One more terrorist killed during the operation in Melhora area of Shopian district. Total two terrorists have been eliminated so far. One AK rifle and one pistol recovered. The operation has concluded,” said Indian Army.

One AK rifle and one pistol was recovered from the spot.

Earlier today, Army’s northern command had reported the killing of one terrorist in the Melhora area.

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INDIA

With 46,791 new Covid-19 cases, India’s tally reaches 75,97,064

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NEW DELHI: India reported 46,791 new Covid-19 cases and 587 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 75,97,064, according to the ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW).

As per the MoHFW, the number of active cases stand at 7,48,538 while the number of cured/discharged/migrated people stands at 67,33,329. The death toll has reached 1,15,197.

With 1,83,456 total active cases, Maharashtra continues to be the worst affected state by Covid-19 in the country. While 13,69,810 patients have recovered from the disease in the state, 42,115 have died so far.

Among other severely affected states, Karnataka has 1,09,283 active cases, while 6,45,825 people have recovered, 10,478 have succumbed to the coronavirus.

Delhi has 23,292 active cases, 3,01,716 recovered and 6,009 deaths reported so far.

Meanwhile, the trend of daily cases in the five most affected states – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu – reveals stages of the decline of active cases. It mirrors a steady decrease in active cases in India with caseload being sustained below 8 lakhs for 3 days in a row, said the health ministry.

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