As the stalemate between the armed forces of India and China at the disputed border in eastern Ladakh continues, all eyes are on the diplomatic talks taking place between the two sides in Beijing to achieve a breakthrough in the situation caused by the forward movement of Chinese soldiers into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“The matters happening at the border are serious, no doubt, and the government is seized of those matters. Let me tell you that this is not the first time these things are happening. In the past also, we have had certain tensions along the Indo-Tibetan border with China and both countries have mature leaderships to tackle them. They are engaged diplomatically,” BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said in an interview to BBC Hard Talk.
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“It is true that on the ground, we are firm, we are taking a firm ground posturing but we are proactively engaged with the Chinese leadership diplomatically,” he added.
Many rounds of military talks between Indian and Chinese commanders on the ground have failed to break the stalemate where the soldiers of both sides are deployed against each other on the LAC. A large number of troops has been mobilised by both armies, along with heavy equipment like artillery guns and Armoured Protective Carriers.
“Talks at the military level on the ground have not yielded results so far, and the talks have all but stalled for the past few days. But talks are on at the diplomatic level with the Chinese in Beijing and we are hopeful that some solution will be found there,” an official told The Indian Express.
“It took 13 rounds of diplomatic talks in Beijing to settle Doklam, where the demands and positions of both sides were crystal clear. This is far more complicated with different perceptions and claim-lines over the same territory, and tempers have run high after recent incidents of violence. Nothing of that sort occurred in Doklam,” the official said.
As per another official, the Army was initially taken by surprise on the LAC by the Chinese military ingresses but has since moved sufficient number of troops in the sector for deployment. The problem, the official said, was because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which did not allow the division-level training exercise of another Corps in Ladakh. Started in 2014, this training movement allowed the Army to have adequate reserves in the area during the summer season to counter any Chinese designs.
Meanwhile there has been “no change in the situation on the ground”, as per the second official, where “both continue to be deployed” and the “Chinese are matched, if not bettered, by us in strength and equipment”. The official said the Indian Army’s “strength is being beefed up even as we speak and we remain where we are”.
The second official also said the number of high-speed boats in Pangong Tso is being increased, and a small Navy team had visited the area to provide an expert view. This comes in response to the sudden increase in the number of Chinese boats in the lake around two weeks ago, as reported by The Indian Express.
Regarding the war of videos and images on social media between Indian and Chinese users, the first official said that “it is very difficult to confirm such videos or images”.
Another official in Delhi said that reports of movement of special trains to ferry labour from Jharkhand to Ladakh for road construction by BRO were not linked to the current situation. “It’s a routine activity that takes place every year around this time,” the official said.
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