A day after the third flag meeting between Indian and Chinese military commanders failed to resolve the border standoff in Ladakhs Depsang plains,Army Chief General Bikram Singh briefed the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on the matter and shared details of Chinas demands.
The Army Chief made a detailed presentation to explain the standoff,and described the proceedings of the three flag meetings since April 15 when Chinese troops set up a temporary camp inside Indias side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Sources said the situation remained dynamic and was being watched closely,but as things stood,the May 9 visit of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to China is on course,and all clearances had been put in place. The border situation has for now been de-linked from Khurshids visit,they said.
The visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang too is on. The Premier is expected to reach New Delhi on May 19,with official engagements and talks with the Indian leadership scheduled for the next day.
Li will visit Mumbai on May 21 for a meeting with business leaders before heading to Pakistan. An advance team from China is currently in Delhi,and all clearances have been obtained.
Sources said the Army Chief did not discuss military options at the meeting with the CCS,which took stock of the security situation in the wake of the border faceoff.
Gen. Singh is believed to have told the CCS that while the incursion is a localised incident,efforts at the local level have failed to resolve the situation as the Chinese side is insistent on the dismantling of Indian infrastructure,including critical fortifications,as a precondition to withdrawing its troops.
It is learnt that efforts to resolve the matter continued at the diplomatic level Wednesday,with Indian and Chinese officials holding discussions over the phone. The Indian ambassador in Beijing is believed to have been in touch with Chinese officials to find a way to return to the status quo before April 15.
It is learnt that India has emphasized to China that the incident should be treated as a localized issue,and similar situations should not develop in other places where the border is disputed. Sources said that throughout the flag meetings and the talks between officials,discussions were friendly and cordial.
Much hope had been pinned on the third flag meeting,which took place after several days of discussions through the joint mechanism on boundary issues that is led by MEAs joint secretary (East Asia). But China only reiterated its demand that India should stop building border infrastructure in Chumar,and raised the matter of Indian airfields in Daulat Beg Oldie and Fukche.
The two sides also had a border personnel meeting on Wednesday in Chushul on the occasion of Labour Day. The meeting lasted over five hours and was attended by Brigadier-level officers from both sides,but given the failure of the flag meeting,the border situation,it is learnt,was not discussed.