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India-China military talks today; pullback from Hot Springs, Gogra on the agenda

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Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 30

Senior military commanders of India and China will be meeting for another round of talks tomorrow to make yet another attempt to defuse tensions and pull back from friction points along the 832-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

This will be the first Lt General-level meeting since April 9 this year and will be 12th round of senior military talks since June 6 last year between the two sides. The talks are slated to commence at 10 am at the Moldo garrison of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China. Moldo, located at the western edge of the Spanggur Tso (lake), faces the Indian garrison at Chushul in eastern Ladakh. Lt Gen PGK Menon, 14 Corps Commander, will lead the talks from the Indian side.

The agenda for talks includes the disengagement and de-escalation of troops, weapons and equipment from Gogra and Hot Springs, two flashpoints along the LAC. The Chinese do not want to bring up troop buildup in the Depsang plains at the talks, said sources.

India, on the other hand, suggested complete disengagement and de-escalation in a graded and time-bound manner from all friction points along the LAC in eastern Ladakh. Depsang is a 972 square km plateau at an altitude of 16,000 feet. The Indian Army holds most of the Depsang plains while the PLA covers the eastern edge. There has been a troop buildup in the area since May last year.

More than 15 months into the military stand-off, India and China are not agreeable on the sequence of pulling back troops, The Tribune had reported in its edition dated July 26.

On February 10, troops of both sides started the disengagement process from the banks of the Pangong Tso, a 135-km glacial lake. Following the disengagement at this spot, the process was stalled. The present position of troops is not face to face, but they are within striking range. Both sides have some 75,000 troops lined up on either side of the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

India is suggesting a three-step process: disengagement from areas where troops are within close proximity; de-escalation; and de-induction, which would entail pulling back troops and war equipment to the pre-April 2020 home bases.

Commanders of the PLA want de-escalation and de-induction first. The troops that remain back within close proximity can then disengage, is a suggestion from the PLA, the sources said.

India for total disengagement

In a 3-step process, India wants total disengagement from areas where troops are in close proximity, and then de-escalation amp; de-induction
The PLA wants de-escalation and de-induction first

China not keen on discussing Depsang

People’s Liberation Army doesn’t want to bring up troop buildup in the Depsang plains at the talks, said sources.
Indian Army holds most of the Depsang plains while the PLA covers the eastern edge

Within striking range

The present position of troops is not face to face, but they are within striking range
Both sides have some 75,000 troops lined up on either side of the LAC

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