New Delhi: Amid the continued stand-off in Eastern Ladakh between India and China, divisional commander-level military talks are likely to be held again Wednesday. ThePrint has learnt that both sides have undertaken “small disengagement” steps in multiple locations, except the ‘Finger’ area of Pangong Lake.
Sources said the disengagement is part of the confidence-building measures (CBMs) discussed Saturday in the meeting between 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen. Harinder Singh and Maj. Gen. Lin Liu, commander of the South Xinjiang Military District.
“This cannot be defined as a retreat or anything. The number of soldiers, vehicles and others involved in the face-off has been reduced a bit. The build-up behind the face-off areas has moved back a bit. This happened before the talks and post the talks also,” a source said.
Sources said the disengagement steps have taken places in the Galwan Valley and the larger Hot Springs area. However, no such move has taken place in the Finger area.
Brigade and battalion commander talks could follow
The sources said that while divisional commander-level talks are likely to be held in “all probability” Wednesday, there would be also be talks at the brigade-commander and battalion-commander levels too.
The sources underlined that the stand-off in eastern Ladakh could be a long one that may match Doklam in 2017, when India and Chinese troops faced off for 73 days.
“These are complex issues and a solution takes time. The focus is on talks and one should not expect solutions like two-minute noodles. At the same time, India is absolutely clear on what it wants and expects the Chinese to do,” a source said.
As reported by ThePrint on multiple occasions earlier, India has demanded that the Chinese maintain the status quo as of early April this year along the Line of Actual Control.
This means the Chinese would have to pull back the troop build-up along the LAC in the Galwan Valley, and retreat from the transgressions in the larger Hot Springs area and the Finger area of the Pangong Lake.
The main point of contention is ‘Finger 4’ at Pangong Lake, where the Chinese have come in and built structures to stop Indian patrol teams from going ahead.