Doval-led group to take stock of India-China talks on border row2 min read . Updated: 04 Aug 2020, 07:52 AM IST
- Both countries are yet to disclose the outcome of the fifth round of military-level talks held at Moldo
- The focus of Singh-Liu meeting was pullback of Chinese troops from banks of Pangong Tso lake
Senior government and military officers in New Delhi are to review the outcome of the fifth round of talks between Indian and Chinese commanders on reducing tension along the international border, two people said on Monday, requesting anonymity.
The meeting of the China Study Group, led by national security adviser Ajit Doval, will likely take place on Tuesday and take stock of the progress of the discussions held on Sunday between Lt Gen Harinder Singh, the Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps, and Major General Liu Lin, Commander of the People’s Liberation Army’s South Xinjiang military region, the first person said.
The Singh-Liu talks at Moldo on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) were held between 11 am and 9.30 pm. There was, however, no word from India or China on the outcome. Indian Army chief general Manoj Mukund Naravane is expected to brief defence minister Rajnath Singh before the China Study Group meeting, this person added. The focus of Sunday’s talks was on disengagement of Chinese troops from the banks of the Pangong Tso lake, one of the many friction points along the LAC. Tensions between the two countries have been high since May when Chinese troops intruded into Indian territory at multiple points in Ladakh.
The intrusions and a violent clash between the two sides on 15 June at Galwan Valley, which killed 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops, exacerbated the tensions and ties plummeted to new lows.
Though the two sides agreed to disengage, people familiar with the matter said the Chinese have not kept their word and have refused to pull back from the peak of Finger 4, a mountain spur jutting out into the Pangong Tso lake. Chinese troops have however moved back from the base of Finger 4 to Finger 5, they confirmed. India said the LAC runs through Finger 8, situated 8 km from Finger 4 and that Chinese troops have intruded into Indian territory. Last week, Chinese ambassador to India Sun Weidong said the Chinese perception of LAC at Pangong Tso was at Finger 4 and Chinese troops had not intruded into Indian territory.
“The Chinese do not seem willing to go back to the status quo ante. There has been some disengagement in the Galwan Valley and Hot Springs area. Pangong Tso continues to remain a problem," the second person cited above said.
Indian analysts said this was part of China’s attempt to change the status quo and then present India with a fait accompli. New Delhi insists that Chinese troops return to positions held in April.
According to the second person, the presence of Chinese troop in the hinterland was as strong as before without any pullback even as the two countries discussed steps to disengage at the military and diplomatic levels. With the Chinese not showing any intention to budge, India has started scouting for emergency purchases of weapons, high-altitude clothing and tents for 30,000 additional troops deployed in forward locations. Indian embassies in Europe, the US and Russia have been asked to help in procurements as the Centre and the Indian Army expect the disengagement process to take a long time.