The third round of military talks between India and China in the Galwan Valley made headway Thursday, breaking the deadlock since the violent clashes Monday night that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
Major General Abhijit Bapat, GOC, 3 Infantry Division, led the Indian team at the talks with his Chinese counterpart at Patrolling Point-14 in the Galwan Valley. A fourth round of talks is scheduled there Friday.
The meeting Thursday, an officer said, was fruitful and the deadlock of the past three days was broken. Both sides, the officer said, agreed on certain issues and many things are expected to be made clear in the upcoming meetings.
The talks, however, have not yet led to further disengagement or de-escalation at various faceoff locations on the Ladakh border.
Also Thursday, the Army, in an official statement, clarified that no soldier involved in Monday’s violent faceoff was missing in action. The statement came after reports that 10 Indian soldiers, including a Major and a Captain, had been in Chinese custody since Monday night.
Meanwhile, an analysis of latest satellite images by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) stated that “in all hotspots along the Ladakh sector of India’s border with China, both sides have engaged in significant efforts to build up their forces in forward positions and alter the status quo along the LAC.”
The ASPI report released Thursday stated that in the Pangong Tso area the “Chinese forces have become an overwhelming majority in the disputed areas” on the northern bank and the adjoining ridgeline.
“Significant positions have been constructed (by the Chinese) between fingers 4 and 5, including around 500 structures, fortified trenches and a new boatshed over 20 kilometres further forward than previously. More structures appear to be under construction,” it stated.
“The scale and provocative nature of these new Chinese outposts is hard to overstate: 53 different forward positions have been built, including 19 that sit exactly on the ridgeline separating Indian and Chinese patrols,” the report stated.