NEW DELHI: The much-awaited India-China corps commander-level meeting has been fixed for Saturday on the Chinese side. The meeting will take place ahead of the resolution of the standoff in eastern Ladakh. “The Corps Commanders from the two sides will sit across for the 12th round of talks between the two sides in Moldo tomorrow,” said a military source. The meeting is due to start at 10.30 am.
The Moldo meeting hut is on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control. Ladakh accounts for 832 km of the 3,488 km LAC. The corps commanders will try and take the disengagement process ahead. Sources privy to the ground developments said there were good chances that the two sides would agree to disengage from Gogra and Hotspring.
The 12th round of talks comes more than three months after the previous round on April 9. Between May 2020 and April this year, there have been 11 rounds of such talks. It was in the first week of May last year when the troops from both sides clashed at Finger 4 on the North bank of the Pangong lake leading to a standoff. It further expanded to Hotspring, Gogra, Galwan and also in Depsang and Demchok. The standoff led to a deadly clash at Galwan in June 2020 in which 20 Indian soldiers, including an officer, were martyred. An unspecified number of Chinese soldiers too died.
For the first time in the history of border negotiations between India and China, the talks involved Senior Higher Military Commanders (SHCML). A distinct change this time is the increase in on-ground friction positions, total 17, along the 832-km LAC in Ladakh. There is an increase of five friction points which include KM120 in the Galwan Valley, PP15 and PP17A in the Shyok Sula area, Rechin La, and Rezang La, officials said.
Before May 5, 2020, there were two Mutually Agreed Disputed Areas (Trig Heights and Demchok) and 10 Areas of Differing Perceptions at Samar Lungpa, Depsang Bulge, Areas east of Pt 6556, Crossing of Charding Nullah, Kongka La, Pangong Tso, Spanggur, Mt Sajjum, Dumchele, Chumar.
With rise in disputes, there has been an increase in the communication between the PLA and the Indian Army in order to resolve the protracted tensions along the LAC, which led to deadly duels in Galwan and claims lives on both sides.
There have been instances of frantic talks — up to five hotline calls in a day. The two sides were engaged in hotline talks as many as 1,450 times in the tense period. The hotlines have been set up at Daulet Beg Oldi and Chushul in Ladakh. “There has been no gap in communication as there were 11 SCML, 10 HCML, 55 Delegation Level (Sector Commander or Brigadier level) talks,” said a source tracking developments.
Gandhinagar to host Defence Expo in March
The Ministry of Defence’s flagship DefExpo will be held in Gandhinagar from March 11 to 13. DefExpo is Asia’s biggest land, naval and homeland security systems exhibition.