India and China have been engaged in discussions through established military and diplomatic channels to address the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
For this purpose, Commanders of the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) held a meeting at Chushul on the Indian side of the LAC on June 30. This was the third senior military commander-level engagement to discuss de-escalation in border areas and disengagement at the sites of prior face-offs.
Both sides have emphasised the need for an expeditious and phased de-escalation process.
While the meet lasted for 12 hours, little change can be seen on the ground where military buildup is visible on both sides of the LAC. The meeting at Chushul on the Indian side started at 11 am and ended at 11 PM.
After the previous meeting on June 22, it was decided that de-escalation is to happen in a staggered manner. “India and China have been engaged in discussions through established military and diplomatic channels to address the situation along the LAC in India-China border areas,” the Indian Army said in a statement.
The discussions were held in accordance with the agreement between External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during a telephonic conversation on June 17. During this interaction, leaders from both sides had favoured implementation of the disengagement agreed upon on June 6.
On June 30, the meeting between the Indian and Chinese commanders was long and held while adhering to the novel coronavirus protocols. The discussions reflected the commitment of both sides to reduce tensions along the LAC.
“More meetings are expected both at the military and at the diplomatic level, in future, to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution and to ensure peace and tranquility along the LAC as per bilateral agreements and protocols,” a source told India Today.
Amid repeated military dialogue, the buildup of troops along the LAC continues with both sides mobilising forces.
India Today reported earlier how a disagreement over 2-3 km retreat discussed in the previous meetings of top military commanders has emerged as the bone of contention with respect to pull back in Pangong Lake and Galwan Valley.
India has clearly stated that a 2-3 km retreat in Pangong Lake is unacceptable since this equals to a retreat from Finger 4, which has always been under Indian control. India claims the LAC at Finger 8.
According to the latest inputs, the Chinese are currently camping at Finger 4 and have set up bunkers and observation posts between fingers 4 and 8, a distance of about 8 km.
Similarly, China is refusing to move back 2-3 km at Galwan Patrol Point 14.