Eastern Ladakh standoff: India, China corps comdrs meeting in Chusul Tuesday

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New Delhi: Indian and Chinese militaries will hold another round of Lt General-level talks on Tuesday in an attempt to de-escalate tension in eastern Ladakh and finalise modalities for disengagement of troops from the sensitive region, government sources said.

It will be the third round of Lt General-level talks and it will take place in Chushul sector on the Indian side of Line of Actual Control. The meeting is scheduled to start at 10:30 AM, the sources said.

The first two meetings had taken place at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC.

In the second round of talks on June 22, the two sides arrived at a “mutual consensus” to “disengage” from all the friction points in eastern Ladakh.

On Tuesday, the two sides are expected to deliberate on the implementation of an agreement arrived at the first round of the Lt General talks on June 06, the sources said.

The Indian delegation at the talks will be headed by 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen Harinder Singh while the Chinese side is likely to be led by the Commander of the Tibet Military District.

The tension between the two sides escalated after the Galwan Valley clashes on June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.

The Chinese soldiers used stones, nail-studded sticks, iron rods and clubs in carrying out brutal attacks on Indian soldiers after they protested the erection of a surveillance post by China on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control in Galwan.

After the clashes, the two sides held at least three rounds of Major-General level talks to explore ways to bring down tension between the two sides.

Pertinently, there has been no discussion on the ground between junior military commanders since June 22 when the Corps Commanders reached “mutual consensus to disengage” while discussing “friction areas” such as Galwan Valley, Hot Springs and Pangong Tso.

Army sources pointed to a “trust deficit” between the two sides following the Galwan Valley clashes in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed on June 15. Chinese troops, sources said, have continued to build infrastructure near Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley, and have also made incursions in the Depsang Plains, close to Daulat Beg Oldie, India’s strategic base near the Karakoram Pass.

To mirror the Chinese build-up, a top source in the Army said, additional air defence elements have been deployed in Ladakh, and the Army has moved additional troops.

“Wherever we are deployed, air defence is something integral. It is an inherent part of deployment. So, air defence having been deployed is natural,” the source said.

The XIV Corps, the source said, has its own air defence element there, but with “more Air Force and Army deployment, proportional air defence element has also been brought in”.

Another source from the defence establishment said: “In this heightened state of readiness, necessary measures have been taken by all services working in an integrated environment to ensure that we are ready for all eventualities.” (Agencies)

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