Military commanders meet but scant progress on ground2 min read . Updated: 01 Jul 2020, 06:22 AM IST
- Both India and China have significantly reinforced their deployments along the border with fighter jets, helicopters, tanks, heavy artillery and missiles
- The two armies have since then deployed their latest military hardware to prepare for any eventuality
Top military commanders of India and China met on Tuesday for the third time this month with an aim to defuse tensions between the two sides that escalated since a deadly border clash earlier in June. The two armies have since then deployed their latest military hardware to prepare for any eventuality.
Lt Gen. Harinder Singh, commander of Leh-based 14 Corps, and Major General Liu Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang military, had an extensive discussion to resolve a deadlock over a de-escalation and disengagement plan that they had arrived at previously but saw scant progress on the ground.
The meeting was held at Chushul in Ladakh on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The previous two meetings between the two took place at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC.
The meeting that began at 11am Tuesday was continuing till the time of filing of this report, according to a person familiar with the matter.
“The long meeting shows there is some serious discussion on and that the two sides need to come to an agreement on issues," said Srikanth Konapalli, a professor of Chinese Studies at New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University. “What it indicates is that more talks will be needed to arrive at some conclusion. The bottom line for us is that China vacate the areas they are on and move back to positions they were at in April," in areas including Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley and the strategic Depsang plains, situated south of Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) near the Karakoram pass, he said.
Singh and Liu last met on 22 June, a week after the brutal Galwan Valley clash in which 19 Indian army soldiers and a colonel were killed. At the time, the two sides had arrived at a consensus on disengaging from friction points along their undemarcated border. The “mutual consensus to disengage" however did not lead to lowering of tensions. It also did not result in any disengagement along the border or in reduction of troops in areas of buildup just adjacent to the border.
Analysts kept their expectations low from Tuesday’s meeting. “I expect it to be a very long haul," said C. Uday Bhaskar, director of New Delhi-based think tank Society for Policy Studies, referring to the divergent positions of the two countries.
Both India and China have significantly reinforced their deployments along the border with fighter jets, helicopters, tanks, heavy artillery and missiles, according to people familiar with the developments. Satellite pictures—not verified by the Indian government—show Chinese troops not only holding ground in Galwan Valley area but also shoring up their military positions with fortifications as well as making significant inroads into areas previously claimed and patrolled by India on the banks of the Pangong Tso . The images also showed that China has ramped up its military presence in Galwan Valley, Depsang and at Pangong Tso after the senior commanders met on 22 June.
But analysts have also pointed out that the two sides are talking, which they described as positive.