Updated: June 29, 2020 11:24:06 pm
Corps Commanders of the Indian and Chinese armies are scheduled to meet Tuesday morning at the Chushul border point as part of efforts to de-escalate the situation on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.
This will be the third meeting between XIV Corps Commander Lt General Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military Region Commander Major General Liu Lin. They will meet at the border point in Chushul — the June 6 and June 22 meetings were held at Moldo on the Chinese side.
At their last meeting, the Corps Commanders reached “mutual consensus to disengage” while discussing “friction areas” such as Galwan Valley, Hot Springs and Pangong Tso.
Army sources pointed to a “trust deficit” between the two sides following the Galwan Valley clashes in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed on June 15. Chinese troops, sources said, have continued to build infrastructure near Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley, and have also made incursions in the Depsang Plains, close to Daulat Beg Oldie, India’s strategic base near the Karakoram Pass.
To mirror the Chinese build-up, a top source in the Army said, additional air defence elements have been deployed in Ladakh, and the Army has moved additional divisions to the region.
“Wherever we are deployed, air defence is something integral. It is an inherent part of deployment. So, air defence having been deployed is natural,” the source said.
The XIV Corps, the source said, has its own air defence element there, but with “more Air Force and Army deployment, proportional air defence element has also been brought in”.
Another source from the defence establishment said: “In this heightened state of readiness, necessary measures have been taken by all services working in an integrated environment to ensure that we are ready for all eventualities.”
There is a growing view within the Army that China is trying to push the LAC further west to impose its perception of the LAC.
With Beijing staking claim to Galwan Valley, going against its own position in the past, a top source in the Army said that China is “trying to reach its 1960 claim line” at some of the points on the LAC.
By claiming the entire Galwan Valley, China wants Indian troops not to cross the confluence of the Galwan river and Shyok river. It is about 5 km west, as the crow flies, of Patrolling Point 14 (PP-14) where the June 15 clashes took place.
Chinese troops have already changed the status quo in the Fingers area of Pangong Tso. They have not just developed infrastructure between Finger 8 and Finger 4, but even set up posts along the ridge on Finger 4, looking down to Indian posts west from there. According to India, the LAC lies 8 km east at Finger 8.
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