LAC standoff | India, China hold fifth round of Corps Commander-level talks

 thehindu.com  08/02/2020 13:12:58  4

The fifth round of Corps Commanders talks between India and China are underway at Moldo on the Chinese sidetotake forward the stalled processof disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Also read:India reviews progress of disengagement talks

The talks began around 11 a.m. on August 2 at Moldo, opposite Chushul, a defence source said.The confirmation for the meeting came from the Chinese side late on August 1 evening. Like in earlier rounds, the talks are led by Leh-based 14 Corps CommanderLt. Gen. Harinder Singh andSouth XinjiangmilitarycommanderMaj. Gen. Lin Liu.

The Corps Commanders of the two sides have held four rounds of talks so far on June 6, 22, 30 and July 14 to de-escalate from the build-up areas in Galwan Valley, Gogra-Hot Springs and Finger area along the Pangong Tso (lake) in Ladakh sector along the LAC.

India has demanded thatstatus quobe restored along the unsettled boundary line. China had massed troops since April-May all along Eastern Ladakh and occupied positions in Indias perception of the LAC.

As the talks were awaited to break down the impasse in the disengagement process, a senior government official said the high-powered China Study Group headed by National Security Advisor (NSA) met on Thursday and discussed the situation on the ground as also the future strategy.

The first phase of disengagement undertaken in early July remains incomplete with disengagement completed at Galwan valley and Patrolling Point (PP) 15 in Gogra-Hot springs area. However, only limited disengagement has been undertaken at PP 17A in Gogra-Hot springs and it has barely begun at Pangong Tso. Chinese troops have only moved back from the base of Finger 4, the mountain spur, to Finger 5 but remain to occupy the ridgelines of Finger 4 where Indias claim extends till Finger 8, while it has always held till Finger 4.

Also read: Chinese troops shift 2 km from Galwan Valley clash site

On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that the disengagement process of troops had not yet been completed. China has maintained that the process is complete.Thisround ofCorps Commandertalksfollows a third round of avirtual conference of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India China Border Affairs grouping.

No ceremonial BPM at Chushul

With ongoing tensions, the ceremonial Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) usually held at Chushul to mark the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) Day on August 1 did not happen. A low-key ceremony was held in Eastern Command area, an official said.

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