India, China discuss border disputes for 14 hours
New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS): India and China held a 14-hour long diplomatic-military talks in Moldo to resolve border disputes in Eastern Ladakh. The details of the deliberations between both the countries’ delegates are yet to be announced.
Both countries’ delegation had respective foreign ministry representative as the talks started at 9 a.m. and ended at 11 p.m.
It was for the first time that the Indian delegation had two Lieutenant Generals, two Major Generals and a Joint Secretary from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Headed by Lt Gen Harinder Singh, Commander of the Leh based 14 Corps, the Indian delegation had Lt Gen PGK Menon from the Army headquarter in Delhi. Menon will eventually take over Commander of the Leh based 14 Corps in November.
The Joint Secretary Navin Srivastava, East Asia presence was there to ensure that deliberation with China takes place on an agreed five-point roadmap, including quick disengagement of troops, between both the countries.
The countries reached a five-point roadmap during the talks between External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Russia’s Moscow on September 10.
The delegation had also Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) Inspector General Deepam Seth and four brigadiers. This was the sixth round of Corps Commander level discussion.
In August, during the fifth round of Corps Commander level discussion both the countries representatives deliberated upon the prevailing situation in Pangong Lake, the biggest flashpoint in the standoff.
It was 14 Corps Lt Gen Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District chief Major General Liu Lin who have been meeting to de-escalate the tension at the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh. The first meeting took place on June 6.
Thereafter though a barbaric attack at patrolling point 14 in Galwan Valley on June 15 was carried out by Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in which 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed. It was the first casualties faced by Indian Army in a clash with the PLA since 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.
In the North bank of Pangong Tso, the troops are in an eyeball to eyeball situation between Finger 3 and Finger 4 where warning shots have been fired in the air by both the countries’ armies. In the South bank of the lake, the troops are a few meters away at Spanggur Gap, Mukhpari, and Rezang La.
China first made provocative military moves thereafter India too deployed mirror troops at these locations. At these two places, both the countries’ troops have fired warning shots to intimidate one another.
PLA troops made movements to occupy the area between Finger 3 and 4 earlier this month which led to firing of around 200 shots in the air. Thereafter, both the troops are a few hundred meters away.
The mountain spurs jutting into the lake are referred to as ‘Fingers’ in military parlance. The north bank of the lake is divided into 8 fingers that are contested by both sides. India claims the Line of Actual Control at Finger 8 and had been holding on to area till Finger 4 but in a clear alteration of status quo the Chinese have been camping at Finger 4 and have set up fortifications between Finger 5 and 8.