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India-China face-off: Corps Commanders talk well into the night, Army chief reviews situation

India pressing for return of troops to locations before build-up

Written by Sushant Singh , Krishn Kaushik | New Delhi | Updated: June 23, 2020 9:26:06 am
india china, india china border, india china stand off The Pangong lake, one of the sites of the dispute. Army sources said the Indian side would continue to insist that troops return to April locations. (Photo: AP)

The meeting between XIV Corps Commander Lt General Harinder Singh and his Chinese counterpart to reduce tensions on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh continued for more than ten hours Monday in search of a breakthrough.

This was the second meeting between the two senior commanders after the understanding they reached at their meeting on June 6 could not be implemented following the Galwan Valley clashes between the two sides on June 15 that left 20 Indian personnel dead.

Like the first meeting, the meeting Monday was held at the Border Personnel Meeting Point at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC, opposite Chushul.

An official told The Indian Express that the agenda of the meeting was to build on decisions agreed upon in the previous meeting of the two Corps Commanders. Read in Malayalam

As with the previous meeting, the agenda centered around the restoration of status quo ante on the LAC as of April, which means disengagement and de-escalation by both sides along the border.

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The process decided during the previous meeting for disengagement had started from Galwan Valley, wherein the two sides had agreed to create a de facto ‘buffer zone’ and both the armies were to step back out of that area in a phased manner. It was to be implemented after meetings between the commanders on the ground. During the implementation process, both sides clashed over the existence of a Chinese Observation Post in the ‘buffer zone’.

In the previous meeting between the Corps Commanders, there was no breakthrough over Chinese construction and military deployment eight kilometres to the west of the LAC on the north bank of the Pangong Tso. This was expected to remain a major point of contention between the two sides during Monday’s meeting, as the Chinese side had refused to engage on the matter and had been pressing hard against the Indian deployment.

This meeting was held at the Corps Commander level as six rounds of talks at the Major General level had failed to break the impasse between the two sides. The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s statement last Friday had also said that “a second commander-level meeting should happen as soon as possible to deal with the situation on the ground”.

As the Corps Commanders discussed the situation on the ground, the Army held a detailed operational briefing in Delhi. Army chief General MM Naravane attended the detailed review of the situation on the ground with Army commanders on Monday morning, as part of the second leg of the Army Commanders’ Conference.
“Army Commanders Conference #ACC-20 is being conducted on 22-23 June 2020 to review the operational situation on both the Northern and Western Fronts,” the Army said.

Talks are also taking place at the diplomatic level in Beijing where the Indian side is being led by the Indian Ambassador to China, Vikram Misri.

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