India-China faceoff: 12 hours on, no headway in third Corp Commander-level talks

India-China faceoff: 12 hours on, no headway in third Corp Commander-level talks


Indian and Chinese militaries on Tuesday held an over 12-hour Corps Commander-level dialogue with a focus on finalising modalities for the disengagement of troops from various standoff points in eastern Ladakh and explored ways to ease tension in the region.

In the meeting, the Indian delegation reportedly conveyed concerns over China’s “new claim lines” in the region and demanded the restoration of status quo ante as well as immediate withdrawal of Chinese troops from Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso and a number of other areas, sources said.

The talks took place on the Indian side of Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Chushul sector in eastern Ladakh. The meeting began at 11 AM and was still continuing at the time of filing this report.

The Indian delegation at the meeting was headed by 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen Harinder Singh while the Chinese side was led by the Commander of the Tibet Military District Major General Liu Lin.

The sources said the Indian side also pitched for strictly following provisions of a number of agreements on dealing with issues relating to the handling of border issues.

DISAGREEMENT OVER RETREAT FROM BOTH SIDES

According to sources, the major bone of contention between the two sides has been on pullback of troops from several key areas. India is not agreeing to retreat 2-3 km at Pangong as it would mean a retreat Finger 4, which has always been part of Indian territory. India has continued to stake claim till Finger 8 of the Pangong Tso.

India Today was the first to detail just how serious the situation is on the ridgeline at Finger 4, with permanent Chinese positions emerging for the first time in a swathe of disputed territory claimed and earlier patrolled by both sides.

While the Chinese Army remains unmoved, both physically on the ground across friction points as well as in talks, it is clear that the PLA leadership has decided to focus its intransigence on Finger 4, showing every intention to move even further west into Indian territory, but held off by bigger Indian deployments in the area.

On the other hand, China is reportedly unwilling to pull back its troop from the Galwan Valley, which witnessed a bloody clash between the two sides.

The three other friction points, Patrol Point 14 in the Galwan Valley (where the violent clash took place on June 15) and Patrol Points 15 & 17A near the Gogra Post in Hot Springs, also came up for discussion.

In the previous Corp Commander-level meeting, China had claimed that it is still 800 metres away from its claim line in the region.

Similar differences over disengagement in Depsang and Demchok are also posing as a roadblock in consensus.

NO CLEAR TAKEAWAY FROM TALKS, TROOP BUILDUP CONTINUES

Both sides have maintained that the focus of the talks was on finalising the modalities for de-escalation, and disengagement of troops from various friction points, the sources said adding there were deliberations on confidence-building measures as well.

India Today has learnt that far from de-escalation, a greater mobilisation and concentration of troops have been seen on both sides of the Line of Actual Control in the last 72 hours. And the mobilisation shows no signs of abating.

However, there was no official word on the details of the meeting.

Three things have emerged quite clearly from today’s talks. One, the process to define the crucial ‘how’ of disengagement has made no clear headway. Two, that while the two sides have defined their own details of disengagement, there are key disagreements that have stalled any clear progress in the talks. And three, the token reduction in troops seen at some sites, including Patrol Point 14, is precisely that — token, in the present scheme of things.

THIRD CORP COMMANDER-LEVEL TALK SINCE GALWAN CLASH

Tuesday’s meeting was the third corps commander-level talk since the India-China standoff began on May 5.

In the previous two rounds of talks, the Indian side demanded immediate withdrawal of Chinese troops from various areas in the region.

The Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last seven weeks, and the tension escalated manifold after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash in Galwan Valley on June 15. The Chinese side also suffered casualties but it is yet to give out the details.

In the talks on June 22, the two sides arrived at a “mutual consensus” to “disengage” from all the friction points in eastern Ladakh. The previous two rounds of dialogue took place at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC.

Following the Galwan Valley incident, the government has given the armed forces “full freedom” to give a “befitting” response to any Chinese misadventure along the LAC, the 3,500-km de-facto border.

The Army has sent thousands of additional troops to forward locations along the border in the last two weeks. The IAF has also moved air defence systems as well as a sizeable number of its frontline combat jets and attack helicopters to several key airbases.

In a strongly-worded statement, the external affairs ministry last week held China responsible for the standoff, saying it has has been amassing a large contingent of troops and armaments along the LAC since early May and that conduct of the Chinese forces is in complete disregard of all mutually agreed norms.

The first round of the Lt General talks was held on June 6 during which both sides finalised an agreement to disengage gradually from all the standoff points beginning with Galwan Valley.

However, the situation deteriorated following the Galwan Valley clashes as the two sides significantly bolstered their deployments in most areas along the LAC.

Tensions had escalated in eastern Ladakh after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on May 5 and 6. The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in North Sikkim on May 9.

Prior to the clashes, both sides had been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it was necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

(with inputs from Shiv Aroor and Abhishek Bhalla in New Delhi)

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Sagar Influence

My name is Sagar Biswas and I am a parttime Blogger and a Youtuber and I have completed my 2nd PUC and Now I am pursuing my Degree and I manage more than 2+ Blog and 1 Youtube channel I stay in Karnataka State Bengaluru City.

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