After the fourth round of Corps Commander talks on July 14 in eastern Ladakh, the Army on Thursday said that the objective of complete disengagement is “intricate and requires constant verification”.
The Army said that the discussions on July 14 were consistent with the consensus reached between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi—both of whom are the Special Representatives for border talks—during their talks on July 5.
Regarding the July 14 meeting, a statement from the Army said: “The Senior Commanders reviewed the progress on implementation of the first phase of disengagement and discussed further steps to ensure complete disengagement.
“The two sides remain committed to the objective of complete disengagement. This process is intricate and requires constant verification. They are taking it forward through regular meetings at diplomatic and military level.”
The terse statement diverges from previous meetings which had been termed positive. It also hints that more conversations at both diplomatic and military levels will be needed to resolve the standoff, which is now in its 12th week.
Sources in the Army have mentioned that since the June 15 violent clashes in Galwan Valley, in which India lost 20 soldiers and China also suffered undeclared number of casualties, the trust deficit between both sides has been quite high.
While there has been disengagement at Patrolling Point 14 (PP14) in Galwan Valley, where the clashes took place, and Hot Springs and Gogra Post areas, the disengagement at the north bank of Pangong Tso continues to be more challenging.
The Chinese had built structures till Finger 4, which is 8 km west of Finger 8 where India says the LAC passes through. Further, even as the Chinese have moved towards Finger 5 to disengage, they continue to occupy positions on the Finger 4 ridgeline. As part of the mutual disengagement Indian forces have also moved westwards.
Along the pullback neither side is allowed to patrol in these friction areas till the discussions continue.
India also wanted to discuss the amassing of Chinese troops in Depsang Plains, where they are blocking Indian troops access to the traditional patrolling limits. This area is close to India’s strategically important Daulat Beg Oldie post near the Karakoram Pass in the north.
Along with the disengagement from these regions where the troops were involved in eyeball-to-eyeball situations, the other major concern has been the military build up in the depth areas. China has brought in additional divisions and military equipment including artillery guns and stationed them behind the LAC, which has been mirrored by India by deploying extra divisions, air defence and other military assets.
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