India and Chinese troops on Saturday exchanged sweets and greetings at 10 border posts along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) including in eastern Ladakh to mark the New Year, officials said.
The gesture by both sides came in the midst of an over 18 month-long standoff between the two sides in several friction points in eastern Ladakh.
The border areas in the Ladakh region where the two sides exchanged sweets and greetings are Konkala, Chushul Moldo, Demchok Hot Springs, Daulat Beg Oldi, Bottleneck and KK pass, the officials said.
A similar exercise was carried out in Nathula and Kongra La in North Sikkim.
The two sides also exchanged sweets and greetings at Bum La and Wacha Damai border points along the LAC in the Arunachal Pradesh sector, the officials said.
Separately, the Indian Army presented sweets to Pakistani troops at Chilehana – Tithwal Crossing Point in the Tangdhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir to extend best wishes on the New Year.
“Over years, India has continuously endeavoured to sweeten and strengthen the bilateral relations with Pakistan through goodwill gestures like this one across the spectrum to ensure peace and tranquillity in the region,” said an Army official.
The eastern Ladakh border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas.
Both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.
Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the sensitive sector.
The 13th round of Corps Commander-level military talks in October ended in a stalemate with the Indian Army saying that the “constructive suggestions” made by it were not agreeable to the Chinese side.
The defence ministry on Friday said it held several rounds of military talks with the Chinese side to deescalate the situation in eastern Ladakh without compromising on its stand of ‘complete disengagement and immediate restoration of status quo ante.
India has been insisting on returning to the status quo that existed before the face-off took place in early May 2020.