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India-China Face-off: 'Mutual consensus to disengage' reached during marathon meeting between commanders

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 23 June 2020, 18:44 IST

A mutual consensus to disengage from all fraction areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was reached during a meeting between senior Indian and Chinese commanders at Moldo, two senior officials said on Tuesday.

The talks that lasted for almost 11 hours were intended for cooling tensions and decreasing the military build-up on both sides of the border.

“Modalities for disengagement from all friction areas in eastern Ladakh were discussed and will be taken forward by both the sides,” said one of the officials asking not to be named.

The meeting between the delegations led by Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, commander of the Leh based 14 Corps, and Major General Liu Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang military region, started at around 11:30 am and continued till 10:15 pm. It was held a week following the vicious face-off between Indian and Chinese Army in Ladhak’s Galwan Valley.

“The Corps Commander-level talks between India and China were held in a cordial, positive and constructive atmosphere,” said the second official cited above who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Indian side was holding out for the pullback of the Chinese Army from the Finger Area where the PLA has set up bunkars, pillboxes and posts, as per the two officials who are aware of the matters.

They stated that the army was also calling for the withdrawal of the Chinese troops from Galwan Valley, the site of the deadly face-off on 15th June, and the reinstatement of status quo in main strategic areas.

The two officials at the meeting stated that India was seeking an assurance from China on ending hostility along the border following the clash at Galwan Valley on 15th June and another face-off at Pangong Tso on 5-6 May. During both skrimishes, the Chinese troops gathered in massive number and launched an attack on Indian soldiers with stones, rods and nail studded clubs.

India was calling for the decrease of Chinese troops deployments in ‘depth areas’ on their side of the border, the officials stated. The intend of the talk was also to restore status quo in the Finger Area, Galwan Valley and Gogra Post, they stated.

As per the officials, the army was most worried about the Chinese presence in the Finger Areas, especially Finger 4 and Finger 8 over the past seven weeks, the official stated. Chinese troop positions in the Finger Area impeded the scope of the Indian forces petrolling area which is considered to be India's territory.

India also pointed out concerns about a build-up of Chinese troops, armoured vehicles and artillerys in the Gogra Post-Hot Spring sector, north of Pangomg Tso. India wants China to move back from their present position to where they were in early April.

This was the second meeting between the officers of corps commander rank they had earlier met on 6th June when the two sides reached an understanding to implement a de-escalation plan to ease tensions.

The tensions reached its pinnacle in the fallout of the 15th June clash. This was the first fierce conflict between Indian and Chinese soldiers in 45 years.

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First published: 23 June 2020, 18:28 IST