India China 12th round of talks at Moldo Garrison: Crystal Grazing

July 31, 2021 10:36 AM

The Indo – China impasse at the Line of Actual Control has been ongoing over the past year. This is the 12th round of talks and the quote above of Winston Churchill is to be kept at the back of the mind.

The talks will be led by the GOC of the Fire and Fury 14 Corps, Lt Gen PGK Menon with representatives of the Ministry of External Affairs in attendance amongst others. (Representative Image)

By LT COL MANOJ K CHANNAN,

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill.

The Indo – China impasse at the Line of Actual Control has been ongoing over the past year. This is the 12th round of talks and the quote above of Winston Churchill is to be kept at the back of the mind.

While the physical interaction will take place at 10 AM, at the Moldo Garrison of the Peoples Liberation Army of China, virtual meets have been held under the “Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination (WMCC)” which was decided on this morning’s meeting. The WMCC is a group that has representatives of foreign ministries and militaries of both sides.

The talks will be led by the GOC of the Fire and Fury 14 Corps, Lt Gen PGK Menon with representatives of the Ministry of External Affairs in attendance amongst others.

The talks are expected to be a “marathon session” extending into the early hours of the morning on 01 August 21. The first indication of the outcome as always will be the press release by the Government of India. The agenda of the talks from the Indian perspective is clear. India wants a pullback in the areas of Gogra and Hot Springs, followed by Depsang plains.

India wants a pullback by the troops in eyeball to eyeball contact, the Peoples Liberation Army of China wants that the depth areas are vacated first and the troops in contact to be pulled back later. Under the current circumstances, the trust deficit is high, to expect breakthrough and unexpected results this day is setting the “expectation bar” at a very high level.

The Indian Leadership has been firm in its resolve and will continue to negotiate with its counterparts for a peaceful resolution. The Indian Army is well prepared for the long haul and its dual tasked formations are using the summer months for area familiarisation as well as acclimatisation. The winter stocking is being carried out as well as the infrastructure development is being progressed with urgency and matching the People’s Liberation Army of China infrastructure development.

The assessment is that the Chinese are not going to pull back and will continue to keep the environment in a “No War No Peace” scenario. The “red lines” are defined and rules of engagement would have been clearly spelt out, post the Galwan incident last year.

In an interaction with some of the locals in Leh, it has been learnt that the tourist influx in the region is high and the Indian Army has allowed the tourists to do the circuit of Pogang-Tso, Khardung La – Nubra Valley circuit which is good for the economy of the region and its people.

Taking a step back from Ladakh, China has been pursuing a major stake in Afghanistan. The region in particular and the world, in general, has the Chinese ambitions under close watch. No “break-in news” is expected; however, I am sure the negotiating team would be optimistic and hope to achieve their goals as we wait for the end results.

(The author is Indian Army Veteran. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online.)

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