Amidst the ongoing dispute over the border, another round of high-level military talks between India and China will take place today i.e. on Sunday. This will focus on some progress in the withdrawal process from the remaining points of confrontation in eastern Ladakh. According to government sources, the meeting between India’s Ladakh Corps Commander and Chinese South Xinjiang Military District Commander to take forward the process of withdrawing troops from the rest of the standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh was held in Chushul. It will be around 1.30 am, where de-escalation from patrolling point 15 or hot springs will be on the agenda for talks.
The Indian side is expected to press for resolution of the issues at Depsang Bulge and Demchok, besides demanding withdrawal of troops from the remaining points of confrontation at the earliest. The 12th round of talks between the two countries was held on 31 July. A few days after the talks, the two armies completed the withdrawal process in Gogra, which was seen as an important step towards the restoration of peace in the region. The 13th round of talks will take place in the backdrop of two recent incidents of infiltration bids by Chinese troops. These incidents took place in Barahoti sector of Uttarakhand and another in Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh.
According to people familiar with the matter, senior military commanders will take up the remaining points of standoff in eastern Ladakh, one by one, including Depsang Bulge and Charding Nullah junction in South Demchok. If the two sides decide to come to an agreement on de-escalation from the hot springs, the Chinese troops aggression of May 2020 will be reversed along with the status quo in eastern Ladakh. So far, around 50 PLA personnel are ahead of their positions at patrol point 15 and an equal number of Indian Army personnel are also facing them.
However, the military situation between the two sides has reduced compared to last year. Yet the PLA still retained more than two divisions and several combined arms brigades forward along the deployed border. The Indian Army has also deployed fighting China and the Air Force has been kept on standby from both sides. A Beijing watchdog said both India and China could work towards removing troops from the eastern Ladakh theater after 16 months if they agree on the de-escalation process from Patrolling Point 15 on Sunday. Huh.
Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane on Saturday said the development of new infrastructure to sustain military build-up and large-scale deployment by China in the eastern Ladakh region is a matter of concern. He also said that if the Chinese army maintains deployment even during winter, it could lead to a LoC (Line of Control)-like situation, though not the same as an active LoC, as is the case with Pakistan on the Western Front. The Indian delegation in Sunday’s talks will be led by Lt Gen PGK Menon, the commander of the 14th Corps based in Leh.