The talks will be at the Major General level and these will be followed by divisional and brigade commander level meetings in the coming days.
Even as the process of de-escalation at the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh by the Indian and Chinese troops have started, a second round of talks at the military level is going to take place on Wednesday. The talks will be at the Major General level and these will be followed by divisional and brigade commander level meetings in the coming days.
After Saturday talks last week, both India and China have decided to de-induct and de-escalate troops and heavy guns and armour move back.
The moving back of the troops from both sides follow close on the heels of the talks between the military leadership of both sides on Saturday.
More round of talks between the two sides are scheduled to take place later this week both at the diplomatic as well as military level.
On Saturday, as has been reported the meeting last almost six hours and in two phases. The first half of the meeting was dedicated to the delegation heads of both sides having a one on one meeting and this was followed by post-lunch detailed talks. From the Indian side, the delegation was led by the commander of Leh-based 14 Corp Lieutenant General Harinder Singh and from the Chinese side, it was Major General Liu Lin, Commander of South Xinjiang Military Region.
What were the main issues discussed by India and China?
There are major issues raised by both sides and will remain on the table to be resolved through talks.
De-escalation of soldiers from four stand-off locations including Patrolling point 14 near Galwan Valley, patrolling point 15, Finger Four of North Bank of Pangong Lake, and Hot Springs (patrolling point 17-A). These are the points where there was a troop build-up.
Stand-offs between the troops at the patrolling point 14 near Galwan Valley at Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road; patrolling point 15 is near patrolling point 14 and Hot Springs which is also considered to be the patrolling point 17-A, are expected to be raised at the brigade level. The decision for the brigade level talks was taken at the last week’s talks.
From the Indian side, the talks which are likely to take place tomorrow are expected to focus on the troop withdrawal from the Finger 4 at the Pangong Lake.
India has been focusing on the restoration of status quo ante before May 8. There has been a major build-up by the Chinese side at Finger 4 of Pangong Tso. Since May 5, the Chinese have been gradually moving their troops and heavy equipment in the Indian territory in the region including — Pangong Tso, Galwan and Gogra in eastern Ladakh.
The movement of the Chinese troops and heavy armour and artillery close to the LAC on its side is against the boundary agreements between the two countries.
Another critical issue which was raised and has been well taken by the Chinese side is the gradual de-escalation of the military buildup that had happened after 20 kilometres and 30 kilometres from LAC.
Since China had actually started the deployment of its troops, and moving in heavy guns, the de-escalation should start from that side was decided at the Saturday meeting. Therefore, both sides have started the process of withdrawing gradually.
According to reports coming from Beijing, on Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying has said that both the countries during the Saturday meeting had reached a consensus not to escalate the situation further along the LAC. And the two sides have agreed to together maintain peace and stability along the border.
What does an expert say?
According to Prof Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU, “There will be several rounds of negotiations before an amicable solution is reached. Two countries should focus on de-escalation of the conflict in the first stage. In no circumstances, the two armies should engage in even physical confrontations. Fortunately, they have shown maturity in dealing with each other. The government from both sides avoided making hawkish and provocative statements. This job was conveniently left for the respective media organisations and strategic thinkers.”
“Negotiations at the military level can focus on stressing of code of conduct for the patrolling parties at the border. The large complex issue of demarcating the LAC and construction activities in their respective activities need to be discussed at the highest political level.”
In his opinion, “Transparency and restoring trust is key to confidence-building measures between the two sides. We often remember the war of 1962, but what we forget is also the fact that the two adversaries have avoided confrontations in the last several decades. This is something comparable to “cold peace” that existed between the two superpowers in the 20th century.”