India-China LAC issue: Focus on Pangong Tso; Will 9th round of talks end the long standoff?

By: |
November 12, 2020 11:02 AM

India and China set to meet anytime this week. Sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online, “The ninth round of talks between India and China could take happen anytime in the week. Both India and China are keen on disengaging and as a step towards that, the talks expected to take place any day now will focus on the North bank of Pangong Tso.”

According to an Indian Army veteran, “It will be all about the Chinese side honouring the understanding that may be reached on the ground.” (Representational Image)

India and China set to meet anytime this week. Sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online, “The ninth round of talks between India and China could take happen anytime in the week. Both India and China are keen on disengaging and as a step towards that, the talks expected to take place any day now will focus on the North bank of Pangong Tso.” When the Corps Commanders meet they will try working out the modalities in an effort to chalk out plans for a phased disengagement and de-escalation along the Line of actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, especially North Bank of Pangong Tso.

What was proposed?

Both sides have deployed 50,000 troops each with heavy artillery, tanks and air defence assets and the soldiers are braving the icy-cold winters in the Ladakh region where the temperatures are already dipping down to minus 20 degrees Celsius.

As has been reported earlier, during the eighth round of Corps Commander Talks on November 6, 2020, “Pulling back their troops and equipment from the Finger 4 to Finger 8 on the north bank has been proposed by the Chinese side. This also means removal of the Chinese observation posts which are inside almost 8 km range,” sources have confirmed.

And India?

If agreed by both sides then India will be moving back to its administrative Dhan Singh Thapa post. This post is located ahead of Finger 2, however, is short of Finger 3. The sources also clarified that “this was just a proposal which can be discussed during a subsequent round of talks and once each side agrees, this may not happen overnight. Rather this will be done in multiple phases and after each phase, there will be on-ground verification. Also, there will be aerial monitoring using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”

The sources also clarified that “this was just a proposal which will be discussed during the next round of talks and once both sides agree, this will not happen overnight. Rather this will be done in multiple phases and after each phase, there will be on-ground verification. Also, there will be aerial monitoring using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”

According to an Indian Army veteran, “It will be all about the Chinese side honouring the understanding that may be reached on the ground.”

“The dis-engagement on the South Bank of Pangong Tso will be discussed after the North Bank is resolved. After tensions between the armies of both sides had escalated in August, heavy tanks and armoured vehicles have been deployed in close proximity which is expected to be moved back,” a source said.

The Chinese side has demanded that the Indian troops vacate the strategic heights in the Southern banks which the Indian troops had occupied including the heights in the Rezang La area.

While India is insisting on a gradual pullback, the Chinese are ready to pull back its troops from near the Southern Banks including the area like ‘Black Top’ which PLA troops had occupied in August.

Then …

If the proposal is accepted and initiated, then from Finger 3 to Finger 8 – will be more like a buffer zone and most likely will be out of bounds for both sides to patrol.

According to sources, “the Chinese are willing to move back beyond Finger 8, which India claims as Line of Actual Control. Earlier the Chinese were ready to move from Finger 4 to Finger 5. And wanted to make Finger 4 buffer zone.” Both India and China claim the area between Finger 2 and Finger 8 as theirs.

Earlier this year in summer, the Chinese troops had moved right to the Finger 4 and occupied almost 8 km of Indian Territory.

When did the disengagement process start?

The standoff between the two armies started early May. As has been reported by Financial Express Online there was an initial disengagement when both sides had pulled back by an equal distance from Patrolling Points 14 in Galwan Valley and PP 15 in Gogra-Hot Springs.

This was marred by the violent clashes which were started by the Chinese troops during the disengagement in which India lost 20 troops in Galwan, and there was an unknown number of Chinese casualties.

Talks to continue

Talks between India and China, both at militarily and diplomatic levels will continue. India is hoping for a complete disengagement before the year ends.

India continues insisting on Status Quo

There is no agreement in place clarified a source. The proposal of disengagement has yet to be discussed and modalities to be finalized if mutually accepted. This time the Chinese side is ready to discuss all friction points with India and this includes the Depsang Plains.

India continues to insist on complete disengagement and status quo ante.

The pullback by the Indian soldiers could take longer as the terrain is tougher than the terrain from where the PLA troops will be pulling back.

Disengagement from friction areas like Galwan and Gogra Post?

Agreements have been reached between India and China. From most places, the Chinese have been honouring the agreements and in some places not.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1Proud of Indian diaspora’s achievements, contributions to society: Dutch PM to India’s envoy
2US lawmaker expresses concern over Chinese construction along Indian border
3Pakistan host to largest number of UN proscribed terrorists, should remember Abbottabad: India