Ladakh, 9 June 2020
Looking to find solutions for the ongoing border dispute in Eastern Ladakh, India and China have started disengaging troops at multiple locations in the area.
The development is taking place at a time when both sides are going to hold the next level of military talks scheduled to start this week, sources told Aajtak and India Today.
The talks between the Indian and Chinese armies are going to be held later this week at the Patroling point 14 (Galwan area), Patrolling point 15 and Hot Springs area.
The Chinese Army has reportedly pulled back its troops from the Galwan Valley, PP-15 and Hot Springs in Eastern Ladakh area by 2 to 2.5 kilometres, sources said.
However, the standoff between soldiers of the Indian Army and the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army continues near Pangong Lake, which was the site of a major physical brawl last month. Soldiers from the two armies clashed with sticks and stones and got into fistfights.
It was after this brawl that reports started coming in of the two armies getting into standoffs at various points along the LAC.
The Indian side has also brought back some of its troops and vehicles from those areas. Sources said talks are being held at the Battalion commander level on these locations and both countries have had hotline talks with their counterparts.Initial talks are being held in these areas as Chinese military activities had also started in Eastern Ladakh from this location only, sources added.
Indian military teams are already in Chushul to engage the Chinese in talks and are coordinating with the senior officials in this regard.
Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a month-long confrontation since May 5 following a violent clash in Pangong Tso which is turning out to be biggest military standoff after the 2017 Doklam episode.
In their first serious efforts to end the row, Lt General Harinder Singh, the general officer commanding of Leh-based 14 Corps, and Commander of the Tibet Military District Maj Gen Liu Lin held an extensive meeting on Saturday. However, it could not produce any tangible results.
In a statement, the external affairs ministry on Sunday said the meeting took place in a “cordial and positive atmosphere” and that both sides agreed that an “early resolution” of the issue would contribute to the further development of the relationship between the two countries.
In its comments, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said both the countries have agreed to work to maintain peace along the Line of Actual Control and resolve the standoff through talks.
Saturday’s talks also came a day after the two countries held diplomatic talks during which both sides agreed to handle their “differences” through peaceful discussions while respecting each other’s sensitivities and concerns.
After the standoff began in early last month, Indian military leadership decided that Indian troops will adopt a firm approach in dealing with the aggressive posturing by the Chinese troops in all disputed areas of Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie.
The Chinese Army has been gradually ramping up its strategic reserves in its rear bases near the the LAC by rushing in artillery guns, infantry combat vehicles and heavy military equipment, the sources said.
The trigger for the face-off was China’s stiff opposition to India laying a key road in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso Lake besides construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.
The road in the Finger area in Pangong Tso is considered crucial for India to carry out a patrol. India has already decided not to stall any border infrastructure projects in eastern Ladakh in view of Chinese protests.
The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated 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.
The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long LAC. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet while India contests it.
Both sides have been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas.