New Delhi: Top tactical army commanders of India and China will meet Saturday at Chushul-Moldo border personnel meeting (BPM) point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The meeting will take place at around 9:30 am, during which the Indian side will press for maintaining the “earlier status quo”.
Sources in the know told ThePrint that the “unusual scale of violence” by Chinese troops and build-up along the LAC by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) consisting of artillery and armoured columns within their territory are among the issues that will be raised by 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen Harinder Singh.
The senior officer will be meeting the chief of China’s Southern Xinjiang Military District, as reported by ThePrint earlier.
“We have been clear from the very beginning that the earlier status quo has to be maintained. We were not the first to start the troop build-up and were neither the first to block any patrol activity,” a source said.
He added that India is seeking a return to the status as of April this year.
“This has been our demand from the very beginning in all the talks held so far. They have to go back to the earlier status quo as of April this year,” the source said.
Lt Gen Singh will be accompanied by senior officers from the 14 Corps of Army, which looks after the Ladakh region.
While a complete de-escalation is unlikely to come out of the meeting, India would be looking at some kind of confidence measuring measures.
A second source said the scale of violence by the Chinese in physical blocking of patrols is serious and will not be tolerated.
“The use of stones, sticks with nails and others have been unusual and pretty serious. This cannot be allowed to continue and an objection will be raised. Also, there is an understanding at local level wherein both sides patrol to their perception of LAC. Blocking of such patrols by setting up some kind of a structure or post is not done.”
China’s objection to construction activities on Indian side
Talking about the Chinese objections to road construction activity, one of the sources quoted above said, “The construction is happening on our side of the LAC and within the allowed distance from the LAC. If the Chinese raise this, this is exactly what will be told.”
The proposed lieutenant general-level talks come after multiple rounds of military dialogue, at various levels, failed to achieve any breakthrough even as diplomatic parleys continue between New Delhi and Beijing to calm the situation in eastern Ladakh, which has seen a heavy troop build-up and transgressions at a number of locations since early May.
During these talks at a lower level, India had demanded that China revert to status quo along the LAC even as the Chinese sought a stoppage of construction activities by India near the LAC.
Even though China has also spoken about resolving differences through talks, the Indian Army is waiting for the former’s diplomatic words to translate into action on the ground.