LAC standoff | India reviews progress of disengagement talks

Indian soldiers walk at the foothills of a mountain range near Leh, the joint capital of the union territory of Ladakh, on June 25, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AFP

A day after the marathon talks at the Corps-Commander level between India and China, the China Study Group (CSG) met on Wednesday evening and reviewed the progress of the talks for disengagement along the border, a defence source said.

Responding to questions on the talks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said “Both sides have made positive progress on promoting further disengagement between troops at the Western Sector of the boundary and de-escalating tensions. We hope that India can work with China to implement our consensus with concrete actions and jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”

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There are internal deliberations in the government on the issue to review the progress of the talks, a defence source said. 

In a related development, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to make a two-day trip to Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir later this week, another defence source said.

The talks on Tuesday went on for 15 hours as both sides worked to finalise details of the next phase of disengagement. Details of the talks are awaited. The talks at Chushul in eastern Ladakh began at 1100 hours on July 14 and ended at 0200 hours on July 15, that is 0430 hours Beijing Standard Time, the source said.

The CSG was set up in 1976 by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to advise on policy issues relating to China.

It was initially headed by the Foreign Secretary and now by the National Security Adviser. It has the top Secretaries, military and intelligence officials, including the Army Chief, as members.

The fourth round of talks’ focus was to work out details of the second phase of disengagement from the stand-off areas, especially Pangong Tso, and also pullback by the massive Chinese troops, tanks, artillery and air defences along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The mobilisation violates the boundary agreements signed between India and China to maintain peace and tranquillity on the LAC.

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The Indian delegation was led by Lt. Gen. Harinder Singh, commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps, and Chinese side by Maj. Gen. Liu Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang military region. The earlier talks were held on June 6, 22 and 30. During the talks, India has consistently maintained restoration of status quo ante of April and withdrawal of the massive deployment by China along the LAC.

Diplomatic talks

 In addition to the military-level talks, diplomatic talks have also been on to resolve tensions on the border since they first clashed on May 5 at Pangong Tso. Last week, Indian and Chinese troops completed the first phase of disengagement from the stand-off areas in the Galwan Valley, Hot Springs and Gogra and also partial disengagement from Pangong Tso, where Chinese troops moved back from the base of Finger 4 to Finger 5. However, Chinese troops are still present on the ridge line of Finger 4.

Mr. Singh will be in Ladakh on July 17 to review the situation on the LAC. He would visit forward areas and interact with troops, the second source stated. On July 18, he would visit Srinagar to review the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) and in the Valley, the source added.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 3:17:39 PM |

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