More India-China talks likely soon as PLA reluctant to recede from Pangong Tso and Gogra

By: |
July 24, 2020 1:17 PM

In May, the troops from the Chinese side had come up to Finger 4 on the north bank of Pangong Tso, 8 km to the west of Finger 8, which according to India marks the LAC.

PP 14 was the point where a clash occurred between the two sides on June 15.PP 14 was the point where a clash occurred between the two sides on June 15. (File image: IE)

India-China border standoff: The Chinese troops seem to be reluctant to further recede from Pangong Tso and Patrolling Point 17A (PP 17A) at Gogra, according to a report in IE. These are two of the four points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh where friction has occurred between the Indian and the Chinese sides, the report added. The reluctance of the Chinese troops to disengage from these two points could cause the Corps Commanders from India and China to hold another meeting next week to discuss how the logjam can be broken, the IE report quoted a top Army source as saying.

The source was quoted by the report as saying that it is being felt that another diplomatic or military meeting is required. This, the source said, was especially true over the situation in Pangong Tso, where there were some differences over the status and claims of the LAC as well as the receding of the troops. The top source added that at present, the disengagement and de-escalation processes were stalled.

Moreover, the report said that on Thursday, the Union Ministry of External Affairs also said that it was expected that another meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on the India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) could be scheduled soon.

In May, the troops from the Chinese side had come up to Finger 4 on the north bank of Pangong Tso, 8 km to the west of Finger 8, which according to India marks the LAC. As a part of the disengagement process, the Chinese troops vacated the base area of Finger 4 and moved towards Finger 5, however, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) still occupies positions on the ridgeline at Finger 4, the report stated.

On the other hand, at PP 17A, there is no change in the status of the engagement of some troops since the last report. The IE report stated that earlier, sources had said that around 50 troops each from the Indian and Chinese sides continued to be within a kilometre of each other at PP 17A.

In the Hot Springs sector, at PP 15, the source said that the Chinese side had indicated that they would recede “without any conditions”, and move back further on their side of the LAC. The source was further cited as saying that the pullback was likely to have resumed on Thursday itself.

At the fourth friction point – PP 14 in Galwan Valley – the troops from the Chinese side have moved back to their side of the LAC. The source was quoted by the IE report as saying that some vehicles of the Indian Army had gotten stranded and most of them had been evacuated through the crossing made on the river for the purpose.

The report further stated that the gap between the Indian and Chinese soldiers was around 4 km and 10 km at PP 14 and PP 15, respectively. PP 14 was the point where the Indian side had lost 20 personnel in a clash with the Chinese side on June 15. China also suffered casualties.

The report further quoted MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava as saying that peace and tranquility in the border areas was based on respect and strict adherence to the LAC. This, he said, was firmly acknowledged in several agreements signed by the two countries since 1993. He added that he had earlier stated that the conduct of the Chinese side, including the changes in behaviour, “unjustified and untenable” claims and the deployment of troops, had disregarded all the mutual agreements between India and China. He was further quoted as saying that India is committed to respecting as well as observing the LAC, and it would not accept any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo along the border.

He added that during the meeting of the Special Representatives, both the countries had agreed to work towards de-escalation from the border areas, as well as complete disengagement of the troops along the LAC in order to fully restore peace and tranquility.

He further said that both the countries are holding diplomatic as well military discussions to expedite this process.

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