NEW DELHI: The fourth Corps Commander meeting between India and China will be held next week even as New Delhi on Thursday reiterated that China’s claims over the Galwan Valley were untenable and exaggerated while Beijing said there was “progress” from both sides in disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“The Corps Commanders will be meeting in the coming week to discuss and decide on retreat of larger troop formations and the heavy equipment, tanks and artillery,” said a senior officer.
Troops of both sides were reported to be retreating from Finger 4 area on Thursday.
Confirming the additional disengagement, the officer said, “Mutual disengagement from the areas of Galwan, Hot Springs and Gogra are complete and verified and some thinning in the Finger 4 area on both sides was observed. The Chinese troops have moved back to Finger 5.”
The officer, however, confirmed the presence of some troops on the ridge of Finger 4. The retreat in other areas is of around two kilometers from the location of stand-off. India has maintained that LAC passes through Finger 8 where the Chinese have their military camp.
They had moved around 10 kilometers inside to Finger 4 on the intervening night of May 5 and 6 when the PLA troops attacked Indian soldiers, leading to a stand-off.
Lt Gen Harinder Singh from India and Maj Gen Lin Liu of China will be meeting for the fourth time next week to decide on the next phase of moving back of troops. “This is expected to take longer time as there is a presence of large number of troops and their supporting equipment, including the armoured vehicles and artillery guns.
Meanwhile, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “During the conversation (between NSA Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi), the NSA conveyed categorically India’s position on the recent developments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), including in the Galwan Valley area. We have made several statements spelling out categorically the position of the government on different aspects of the current situation in the western sector of India-China border areas. They include our position that recent Chinese claims to the Galwan Valley area are exaggerated and untenable; that the LAC must be strictly respected and observed as this is the basis for peace and tranquility in the border areas; and that neither side should take any unilateral action to alter it.” He said the next WMCC meeting is expected to take place soon.
Srivastava said the two special representatives have also agreed that both sides should work together to avoid any incident in the future that could disturb peace and tranquility in border areas.
“The diplomatic and military officials of both sides will continue their meetings to take forward the process of disengagement and de-escalation, as agreed to by the special representatives,” he said.
China said that the two militaries had made progess to ease tension along the LAC.
“There is progress made on frontline troops taking effective measures to disengage and ease the tensions. Chinese and Indian troops held a commander-level meeting on June 30. The two sides continue to work to implement the consensus reached at the two previous rounds of talks,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, adding that the situation at the border was ‘calm’ and ‘controllable’.
Meanwhile, Wang said at an event, “Unilateralism and bullying are forcing their way in the world. Aggression and expansion have never been in the genes of the Chinese nation throughout its 5,000 years of history.”