India, China to hold senior military-level talks, disengagement at friction areas on agenda
Senior military commanders from India and China are holding talks on Saturday to discuss the next stage of disengagement by the Chinese side along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh sector, people familiar with the development said.
The major general level meeting, which comes after the fifth round of talks between corps commander ranked officers on August 2, began at 11am in the Daulat Beg Oldi area on the Chinese side of LAC. The situation in the Depsang plains will also be discussed.
The last round of negotiations was held at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC as talks entered a critical phase due to serious differences between the two armies in the Finger Area near Pangong Tso. It also came amid the Chinese People’s Liberation Army reluctance to vacate positions held by it in what New Delhi claims to be Indian territory.
The Finger Area—a set of eight cliffs jutting out of the Sirijap range overlooking the Pangong Lake—has emerged as the hardest part of the disengagement process with little hope of immediate resolution, one of the officials in the know of the developments had said then.
The August 2 military negotiations had come three days after Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong said his country’s traditional boundary line on the northern bank of the Pangong Lake was in accordance with the LAC and there was no case of Beijing expanding its territorial claim.
The ambassador’s contention was a clear indication of the Chinese hard line on its claims in the Finger area, said a second official.
The Indian Army used to patrol right up to Finger Eight that New Delhi considers within Indian territory before the PLA grabbed positions on Finger Four overlooking Indian deployments. The new positions held by the PLA have curtailed the scope of Indian patrols. Fingers Four and Eight are 8km apart.
The Indian claim line in this sector extends to Finger Eight, while the Chinese claim is up to Finger Four where the PLA has set up permanent bunkers, pillboxes, observation posts and tented camps over the last three months.
Tensions between India and China have risen since May after India said it had detected multiple intrusions into its territory by Chinese troops. The ties strained further after a violent clash between soldiers of the two sides in June in which 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed.