An agreement for disengagement at the next India-China round of talks expected: Officials

By: |
July 26, 2021 3:49 PM

Earlier this year, on February 10, troops of either side had started “disengagement” along the banks of 135 km Pangong Tso Lake. After this round the process remains stalled.

The effort is to resolve the ongoing standoff in Eastern Ladakh. (Representational image: IE)

In the next round of talks between India and China, there could be an agreement for disengagements from some of the friction points along the Line of Actual Control.

Though no dates have been announced for the 12th round of Corps Commander-level talks which is expected to focus on resolving the ongoing standoff in Eastern Ladakh, sources have indicated that these could take place anytime.

“No specific date has been set. And the talks could take place either this week or early August,” said a senior officer.

According to a senior official, “Though they are within striking range, no attempts have been made by the Chinese to re-occupy the vacated peaks. The situation on the ground is stable, which is a positive sign. There is a sense that the Chinese side is ready to disengage from other places. The talks are going on at various levels with the Chinese and there is indication that the next round of disengagement will start soon.”

It has been fifteen long months of standoff between the armies for India and China. Besides the Corps Commander Level talks, in the background preparations are going on for having a Major General level talk. This is expected to take place at the end of the 12th round of talks between the two sides.

How many rounds of talks so far?

From the time the standoff between the two armies started, there have been around 1,450 calls over the two hotlines; 10 Major General level talks, and 55 Brigadier level talks. There are two hotlines for communication at Chushul and Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO).

What to expect in the 12th round?

The effort is to resolve the ongoing standoff in Eastern Ladakh. This means, at the end of this round of talks there could be an agreement for disengagement at Gogra and Hot Springs.

Update … where do things stand?

“India has been urging the opposite side to make sure that the troops which are in close proximity should disengage first. And this will be followed by de-escalation and de-induction later”, said the official quoted above.

However, China has been saying the opposite. It insists that de-escalation and de-induction should take place first, and the troops who are in close `proximity’ can disengage later.

As reported earlier Indian and Chinese armies have deployed around 75,000 troops on either side of the 832-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

Three step process suggested by India:

To disengage from areas where troops are within close proximity.

This should be followed by de-escalation and de-induction. This means pulling back not only troops but also equipment to the pre-April 2020 home bases.

India is not keen on the Chinese sequence, due to different terrain on the other side –which is the flat Tibetan Plateau. This will make it easy for the PLA to induct troops faster.

However on the Indian side, the terrain does not allow rapid induction as there are several high passes, which get snowbound from October. And this can hold back the infantry.

Earlier this year, on February 10, troops of either side had started “disengagement” along the banks of 135 km Pangong Tso Lake. After this round the process remains stalled.

Which are the friction points?

There are other friction points that have yet to be resolved and these include: Demchok, Gogra, Hot Springs and Depsang.

Both sides have two mutually agreed disputed areas: Trig Heights and Demchok — and 10 areas of differing perception. According to officials since the standoff in 2020, additional five friction points have emerged.

Which are the additional friction points?

Patrolling Points (PP) 15; PP17; and Rechin La and Rezang La on the South Bank of Pangong Tso.

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