Even as tensions between India and China continue in eastern Ladakh, the two sides held a third flag meeting on Tuesday to discuss the incursion issue, sources in the Army said.
Local commanders of the two sides, usually of the rank of brigadier, met for the third flag meeting to discuss the situation prevailing in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector where a platoon-strength of Chinese troops came in on April 15 and established tents. As differing perceptions exist about the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which is yet to be demarcated, patrolling parties of the two sides usually go up to a certain point and return but it is for the first time that Chinese troops have set up five tents and stayed put for the past two weeks.
Details of what transpired at the third flag meeting were not available but the first two flag meetings held on April 18 and 23 failed to yield any result that could have helped in ending the stand-off. According to India’s perception of the LAC, Chinese troops’ incursion is 19 km deep inside Indian territory in eastern Ladakh.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony held a meeting with National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, Army Chief General Bikram Singh, Air Chief Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne and Navy Chief Admiral D.K. Joshi.
In a related development, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Tuesday that as of now there was no plan to cancel his visit to Beijing in the wake of Chinese incursion.
He, however, appeared to keep his options open, saying: “one week is a long time in politics.’’ He is scheduled to travel to Beijing on May 9 in connection with preparations for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to New Delhi.
“Can I cancel my visit?’’ Government has to decide. There is no such decision and there is no reason we should do that but you know one week is a long time in politics, so let us move forward,’’ he told journalists outside the Parliament House.
(With inputs from Sandeep Dikshit)