PLA troops non-committal about retreat, India keeps wary eye
New Delhi, July 18 (IANS): Chinese troops have not moved back from the Line of Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh in line with the consensus arrived at during the disengagement talks between India and China, sources said on Saturday.
Seeing the “non-committal approach” of the People’s Liberation Army troops, India maintains that the process of disengagement is “intricate and requires constant verification”.
The sources in the Indian security establishments said that the Chinese retreat a bit and then return; so there is a need for “constant verification” of the consensus achieved during the meetings between Indian and Chinese military delegates.
It has been found that Indian and Chinese troops have pulled back at Pangong Lake by 2 km and Finger 4 is empty. However, the Chinese are still camping on the ridge line. This clearly indicates that the Chinese had camped at Finger 4 that had traditionally been under Indian control.
The Chinese had come in 8 km into the Indian territory, all the way till Finger 4 from Finger 8. India maintains that the LAC runs through Finger 8. Mountain spurs jutting into the lake are referred to as fingers.
In Galwan Valley, which is called Patrolling Point 14, distance between Indian and Chinese troops is three km. At Patrolling Point 15, the distance between troops is around eight km.
But in Hot Springs, that is Patrolling Point 17, 40-50 troops on both sides are just 600-800 meters apart. The Chinese Army had retreated as per the consensus but again returned.
Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday, during his visit to Ladakh, said that India wants peace but there is no guarantee of the final outcome of talks with China. Singh also reviewed the ground situation in the hostile border areas.
India and China are engaged in military and diplomatic deliberations to de-escalate the tense situation in the border areas in Ladakh. The countries are locked in a 10-week-long stand-off at multiple points, hitherto unprecedented along the border.
The Indian Army said on July 16 that the disengagement process on the LAC with China is “intricate and requires constant verification”. The armed force said that India is taking the de-escalation process forward through “regular meetings at the diplomatic and military level”.
During 15-hour-long deliberations spread over July 14 and July 15, India and China military delegates reviewed the progress on “implementation of the first phase of disengagement and also discussed further steps to ensure complete disengagement” in eastern Ladakh.
The Indian delegation’s main agenda at the meet was the complete PLA pullback from the Pangong Lake, Depsang and other areas in eastern Ladakh.
China had started to change the status quo on the LAC at various places, moving inside the Indian territories. India has objected to it and is taking up the matter with China at all levels.
On June 15, as many as 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed in a violent clash in the Galwan Valley.