File image of Indian soldiers in Ladakh | By special arrangement
File image of Indian soldiers in Ladakh | Representational image | By special arrangement
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New Delhi: India is being cautious of the de-escalation process at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, and both sides have agreed on a 72-hour observation window to make sure that steps agreed upon have been taken on the ground, ThePrint has learnt.

The 72 hours’ timeframe has been decided on India’s request, sources said, adding that both sides will during this time satisfy themselves about the de-escalation steps agreed upon before moving ahead.

This decision, the sources said, was taken because while India had fulfilled the de-escalation commitment made at a meeting on 6 June, China did not do so.

Indians had observed that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had not lived up to the commitment that both sides would fall back by about 2 kilometres from their current positions at Patrol Point 14, which led to burning down of a Chinese tent in the Galwan Valley on 14 June, as reported by ThePrint earlier.

Another round of meeting between the commanding officers of two sides was held at Patrol Point 14 on 15 June, following which Col Santosh Babu had gone in the evening to check if the Chinese had removed the observation post near the Y Junction, about 1.5 km inside the Indian territory.

This resulted in the deadly clash, which led to fatal casualties on both sides.

Also read: If you don’t shoot, you don’t escalate: NSAB chief explains how India, China have avoided war

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Not much of a change in ground situation yet

“The de-escalation will happen in a phased manner. During this process, there will be a 72 hours period during which both sides will make sure that the other has carried out the commitments made. Only then will the next round of de-escalation happen,” a source said, explaining the situation.

They added that there has not been any actual de-escalation since the third round of meetings between the corps commanders of the two sides Tuesday.

However, defence sources have maintained that the process will be long drawn.

The two countries had already agreed to follow some protocols, such as keeping a distance of at least 100 metres between patrols, desisting from ramming boats and vehicles into each other, avoiding confrontation, and disengagement in case of an eventuality.

Despite multiple rounds of talks at several levels, there has not been much of a change in the ground situation.

The sources said implementation of the understanding arrived at by the two sides is a real challenge on the ground.

Following the 12-hour meeting between the corps commanders Tuesday, sources had said they discussed the need for an “expeditious, phased and step-wise de-escalation”.

Also read: China ‘deploys’ S-400s, IAF has war gamed the scenario multiple times for air ops


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