After the failure of dialogue at the Major General level to break the deadlock over the standoff at the LAC in Ladakh, discussions are underway between India and China to have another round of military and diplomatic talks next week.
A government official told The Indian Express that the military talks will be held at the level of Corps Commander in Ladakh, where the Indian side will be led by GOC 14 Corps Lt General Harinder Singh while the diplomatic talks in Beijing will be led by India’s ambassador to China, Vikram Misri. Preliminary discussions to finalise the schedule of talks are currently on between the two sides, the official said.
“The talks at the Major General level have failed to break the impasse and make progress. We thus need talks at a higher level, at the Corps Commander level, and both sides have been talking over the hotline to fix the dates for the talk,” the official explained.
“The military talks can be expected to be held in the next 4-5 days, say next week,” the official said.
Chinese foreign ministry’s statement late Friday had also said that “a second commander-level meeting should happen as soon as possible to deal with the situation on the ground”.
The official also said that the agenda of the meeting will be finalised in due course, but it is likely to build on the decisions agreed upon in the previous meeting of the two Corps Commanders. The last meeting of the 14 Corps Commander with his Chinese counterpart was held on June 6, where certain decisions about disengagement on the LAC were taken.
These decisions were to be implemented after meetings between the military commanders on the ground. But the whole process was derailed after the violent faceoff between the soldiers of both sides on June 15, which left 20 Indian soldiers dead, 76 injured and 10 in Chinese custody.
The last meeting between the military commanders took place at the Major General level on Thursday, where 10 Indian soldiers, including four officers, were released by the Chinese side. The Indian delegation was led by GOC 3 Infantry Division, Major General Abhijit Bapat.
The Army has clarified that no bridge has been made on the Galwan river, on the track going to PP 14, during the period of the standoff. Army said that the bridge is on the Shyok River, very close to the Shyok-Galwan meeting point, aligned in North to South direction, and links Daulat Beg Oldie to Shyok and Darbuk.
The clarification assumes significance as the June 6 meeting at the Corps Commander level has decided to create a kind of buffer zone between the junction of Shyok and Galwan rivers on the west and the LAC on the east. It was also mentioned in the Chinese foreign ministry’s statement Friday that “the Indian side promised (in June 6 meeting) that they would not cross the estuary of the Galwan river to patrol and build facilities”. The violent faceoff of June 15 also happened while undertaking gradual disengagement in this ‘buffer zone’ after talks between local military commanders.
Meanwhile, the situation on the ground continues to remain tense with reports of massive Chinese military buildup along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) opposite Indian positions in Depsang, Galwan, Hot Springs, Pangong Tso area, Koyul, Fukche and Demchok. The Indian side has also mobilised and deployed a large number of troops in the area to respond to any situation on the border.
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