Diplomacy

India, China military commanders to talk tomorrow for further de-escalation

File Photo: Chinese and Indian soldiers during a joint exercise.

By N. C. Bipindra

New Delhi: To take forward the discussion on de-escalation of military tension at the Ladakh border, India is all set to host a Lieutenant General-rank officer of the Chinese army tomorrow to thrash out further measures for their soldiers to disengage.

The meeting of the Corps Commanders from both sides will happen at Chushul in eastern Ladakh close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), where the two armies have been in a military face-off for the last over 50 days.

This will be the third meeting between the Corps Commanders of the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to thrash out the issues of confrontation between the two sides, according two senior Indian Army officers with direct knowledge of the developments. They did not wish to be named citing rules regarding interaction with the media.

“The two Corps Commanders will discuss the macro picture of disengagement. The minute details will be discussed further by the Major Generals, Brigadiers and Colonels and their equivalents on the Chinese side, for a peaceful and cooperative fall back of the patrolling parties and the deployed soldiers to their depth areas inside their LAC,” the first of the two officers said.

The two military leaders had first met on June 6 at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC, after nearly a month-long eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between the soldiers of the two armies, to ensure disengagement and to return of their respective depth areas.

However, the truce bought at the June 6 meeting was shattered when the soldiers of the two armies came to bloody blows on June 15 at the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh that left 20 Indian personnel and an undisclosed number of Chinese military men dead, and scores injured.

After the hand-to-hand combat and attacks with nail-spiked sticks and iron rods left their soldiers dead, the Corps Commanders of the two armies met again to defuse the situation and the calm the tempers running high on either side on June 22 at Moldo.

Since the June 22 meeting, peace has prevailed along the LAC, though the two sides have mobilised 15,000 to 20,000 soldiers to the borders to stand guard in case of an offensive by either side.

That apart, the two armies’ patrols have been staying put in forward areas close to the LAC, keeping a close watch on the other sides, according to second officer mentioned above.

The two officers noted that the Indian side has not slackened their infrastructure building in the forward areas even one bit and that all the roads and bridges work are continuing at the same pace as before the conflict erupted in early May.

“Please recall that we had completed a 60-metre bridge very close to the Galwan Valley even while the two sides were angry with each other after the violent incidents of June 15 and we did the construction of the bridge in record time,” one of the two officers said.

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