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Ladakh standoff: India, China hold second round of Lt Gen-level talks amid heightened tensions

The high-level talks came a week after 20 Indian Army personnel were killed in a violent clash between the two sides in Galwan Valley.

Published: 22nd June 2020 07:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd June 2020 10:50 AM   |  A+A-

An Indian army convoy moves on the Srinagar- Ladakh highway at Gagangeer, north-east of Srinagar, Thursday, June 18, 2020. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: A marathon meeting of Corps Commanders of India and China got wrapped up late on Monday night, indicating the intricacies involved in the border negotiations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). There was no immediate word on its outcome. Also, the Indian Army decided to harden its stance on deployments along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.

“The over 10-hour-long meeting Lt General Harinder Singh, head of Leh-based 14 Corps, had with Major General Lin Liu, commander of the People’s Liberation Army in South Xinjiang region, ended around 10 pm,” a senior officer informed. The meeting was called to defuse tensions along the border, which soared after the June 15 attack on Indian soldiers by Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley.

Sources said now the Army is also preparing to strengthen its defences, with senior officers from the Operations Branch visiting Leh in quick succession. Army Chief General M M Naravane is likely to make a trip to Leh next week to take stock of the situation on the ground, said another source.

The Annual Army Commanders Conference in Delhi on Monday extensively discussed the stand-off and the way forward. Further discussions are expected on Tuesday in the presence of the Army chief and the vice chief.

While troops of 3 Division of the Army are directly handling the stand-off, they are strongly supported by troops of two other divisions. Also, the Indo Tibetan Border Police has been put into standby, informed sources.

While India has been open about its fatalities (20) in the deadly fight in the Galwan area on June 15, China continues to play ostrich. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Monday said he had no information about PLA casualties, a day after Union minister and former Army Chief General V K Singh revealed that at least 40 Chinese soldiers, too, were killed.

Among the PLA fatalities was its local commander, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is learnt to have told the all-party meeting called by the prime minister on Friday. As for Colonel B Santosh Babu, the local Indian commander, he was killed in action after sustaining head injury, he added.

Hu Xijin, editor in chief of Global Times, the Chinese government’s mouthpiece, is the only one who has acknowledged Chinese fatalities so far. “My understanding is the Chinese side doesn’t want people of the two countries to compare the casualties number so to avoid stoking public mood. This is goodwill from Beijing,” he tweeted last week.

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