New Delhi: Top Indian and Chinese military officials met at Chushul on Friday to discuss the next phase of disengagement on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, and the dialogue that started at 10:30 am is still on.
The 11th round of Corps Commander talks at Chushul is happening after a nearly two month gap. The Indian military delegation was led by Leh-based 14 Corps Commander, Lt Gen P.G.K. Menon.
The focus of the talks is disengagement on other friction points. After the Pangong disengagement, both countries planned to carry out disengagement on other friction points like Gogra, Hot Springs and Depsang.
“The military dialogue is still on and it is important that before the onset of summer, de-escalation takes place at the Line of Actual Control. Both sides need to retreat to original positions for things to ease,” said a senior Indian Army officer.
On February 20, Indian and Chinese military held the 10th round of military dialogue to de-escalate tension at the LAC and for disengagement at friction areas like Hot Springs, Gogra and 900 square km Depsang plains.
The build-up in Depsang was not being considered part the current standoff that started in May last year as escalations here took place in 2013. However, India has insisted during the recent military commander meetings to resolve all issues across the LAC.
“The initial attempt will be to resolve Gogra and Hot Springs. Finding a solution to Depsang might be tricky and take longer,” said the officer.
So far, disengagement process at both banks of the Pangong Lake has taken place. It was on February 10 that China made an announcement that New Delhi and Beijing had agreed to disengage at Pangong Lake.
An Indian Army team, along with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) team, physically verified and re-verified disengagement at Pangong Lake.
As per the agreement, Chinese troops moved back to Finger 8 and Indian troops pulled back to the Dhan Singh Thapa post between Finger 2 and 3 of the lake’s north bank.
The mountain spur jutting into the lake is referred to as ‘Finger’ in military parlance. The north bank of the lake is divided into 8 fingers, and India has claimed its territory till Finger 8 but China disputes it, claiming it stretches only till Finger 4.
A temporary moratorium on military activities, including patrolling in traditional areas, has come into place.
India and China are engaged in a year-long standoff at the LAC. The confrontations began on the north bank of Pangong Lake, both in the waters and the bank as Chinese incursions increased in early May last year.