Senior Indian and Chinese military commanders will meet for the eighth time on Friday to discuss a possible resolution of the standoff in eastern Ladakh. The meeting, expected to start around 9.30 am, will take place on the Indian side of Chushul-Moldo Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) point.
Sources in the Army said both sides are ready for a prolonged, winter deployment of additional troops.
The Indian delegation will be led, for the first time, by Lt General P G K Menon, who took over from Lt Gen Harinder Singh in mid-October as commander of the XIV Corps, which is responsible for the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China in eastern Ladakh, as well as Siachen and Drass sector facing the Line of Control with Pakistan.
This, however, will not be the first time Lt Gen Menon will be part of the Corps Commander talks, as he had been included in the sixth and seventh rounds of discussions. He had been included in the talks since he was scheduled to take over from Singh after the latter’s one-year tenure ended on October 14.
Lt Gen Menon, who will lead the Indian side, has had multiple stints in Ladakh and in China-facing units in the Eastern Command. Before he came to Ladakh in September, he was heading the Complaints Advisory Board in the Army Headquarters, working directly under Army Chief General M M Naravane.
His two important previous stints in Ladakh include serving as the Brigadier General Staff, handling operations, of XIV Corps, in 2014. In 2008, he had served as the Colonel (General Staff) with the 3rd Division, which is responsible for LAC.
Two years ago, as a Major General, he had held the first ever border personnel meeting discussions with China’s Major General Li Xi Zhong at Bum La, near Tawang district in Arunachal Pradesh. He was then the General Officer in Command (GoC) of the 71 Infantry Division under Eastern Command.
The delegation from the Indian side will also include Naveen Srivatsava, Joint Secretary handling East Asia in Ministry of External Affairs. Srivastava, too, was part of the last two round of discussions, making the previous meetings joint military-diplomatic discussions.
Sources from the defence establishment said that another senior military officer representing the headquarters will be part of the meetings.
From China, the delegation will be headed by Major General Liu Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang Military Region, and will include a diplomat.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines