India and China prepare for fresh talks

Tight corner:Army trucks moving towards Ladakh on the Manali-Leh highway on August 1.pti  

As the stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh entered the 17th week, India and China are preparing for another round of military talks in an attempt to resolve the tensions, a defence source said.

“Both sides agreed to hold the next round of military talks. Discussions are under way on the issue but dates have not been fixed yet. Even the level at which the talks would be held has not been fixed yet,” the defence source said. It could be either at the Corps Commander level or at the Major General level, the source stated.

This follows the diplomatic-level talks at the Joint Secretary level last week of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China Border Affairs.

Following the WMCC talks, over the weekend Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the situation with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs.

Five rounds so far

So far, five rounds of Corps Commander-level talks have been held but there has been little progress on the ground to restore status quo ante of pre-May positions beyond the initial steps taken for disengagement and de-escalation.

The last round of military talks were on August 8 at the Major General level at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), specially to discuss the strategic Depsang plains where China has undertaken massive build-up of forces on its side of the LAC, and PLA troops have also been blocking Indian Army patrols from reaching the patrolling points.

Depsang Plains and Pangong Tso remain major areas of concern with Chinese troops continuing to occupy the ridgelines of Finger 4, about 8 km inside from Finger 8, up to which India’s claim extends. There has been no change in situation on the ground, the source added.