New Delhi, July 13
The Indian and Chinese military are scheduled to hold their fourth round of Lt General-level talks on Tuesday with an aim to finalise modalities for the next phase of de-escalation and disengagement of troops in eastern Ladakh, government sources said on Monday.
The meeting is set to be held in Chushul on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, they said.
The two sides are also expected to finalise a roadmap for restoration of peace and tranquility in the high-altitude region that witnessed an eight-week bitter standoff between the troops of the two countries.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has already completed pulling back troops from Gogra, Hot Springs and Galwan Valley and significantly thinned down its presence in the ridgeline of Finger Four in the Pangong Tso area in the last one week as demanded by India.
India has been insisting that China must withdraw its forces from areas between Finger Four and Eight. The mountain spurs in the area are referred to as Fingers.
The formal process of disengagement of troops began last Monday after a nearly two-hour telephonic conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi the previous day.
On Friday, India and China held another round of diplomatic talks during which both sides resolved to push ahead with “complete disengagement” of troops in eastern Ladakh in a timely manner for “full restoration” of peace and tranquility.
At the meeting, it was decided that senior commanders of the two armies will meet “soon” to discuss further steps to “ensure complete disengagement and de-escalation”.
The two countries have already held three rounds of Lt General-level talks and the last one took place on June 30 during which both sides agreed on an “expeditious, phased and step wise” de-escalation as a “priority” to end the standoff.
The first round of the Lt General talks was held on June 6 during which both sides finalised an agreement to disengage gradually from all the standoff points beginning with Galwan Valley. However, the situation deteriorated following the Galwan Valley clashes on June 15 as the two sides significantly bolstered their deployments in most areas along the LAC.
The second round of talks took place on June 22.
The Indian and Chinese armies were locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for over eight weeks since May 5.
The tension escalated manifold after the violent clashes in Galwan Valley in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed.
The Chinese side also suffered casualties but it is yet to give out the details. According to an American intelligence report, the number of casualties on the Chinese side was 35.
Tensions had escalated in eastern Ladakh around two months back after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on May 5 and 6. The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 9. PTI
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