India and China military top brass will hold talks on Saturday in a bid to resolve the standoff and de-escalate forces in eastern Ladakh region along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
14 Corps Commander Lt Gen Harinder Singh is scheduled to hold the Lieutenant General-level talks with Maj Gen Liu Lin, who is the commander of South Xinjiang Military Region of Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The talks have been reportedly requested by India and will be held in Moldo in China opposite Chushul in Ladakh sector.
Indian Army Chief MM Naravane is confident enough that the standoff would be resolved at military-level talks.
Amidst continuing tensions at the Indo-China border in Ladakh, Beijing issued a statement on Friday saying that it is committed to properly resolve the “relevant issue” with India ahead of the key talks between senior Indian and Chinese military officials on Saturday to end the standoff at LAC.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing in Beijing that “at the moment the situation in the boundary region between China and India is overall stable and controllable”.
“We have full-fledged border-related mechanisms and we maintain close communications though military and diplomatic channels,” he said.
“We are committed to properly resolve the relevant issue,” Geng said.
Meanwhile, at the meeting, the Indian side is expected to present specific proposals at the talks to de-escalate tension in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley and Demchok – the three areas in eastern Ladakh where the two sides have been on a bitter standoff for the last one month, the sources told news agency PTI.
It is not immediately known what will be the proposals that the Indian military will take to the table but it is understood that it will insist on return to status quo in all the areas.
The two sides have already held at least 10 rounds of negotiations between local commanders as well as major general-rank officials of the two armies, but the talks did not yield any positive result.
Division Commander Level Meeting was held between the Major General rank officers of the two sides on Tuesday afternoon to resolve the issue but in the end it remained “inconclusive”.
As Indian and Chinese troops remained engaged in a tense border standoff, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday asserted that the government will not allow India’s pride to be hurt under any circumstances even as he said bilateral talks were on at military and diplomatic levels to resolve the row.
Several areas along the LAC in Ladakh and North Sikkim have witnessed major military build-up by both the Indian and Chinese armies recently, in a clear signal of escalating tension and hardening of respective positions by the two sides even two weeks after they were engaged in two separate face-offs.
The nearly 3,500-km-long LAC is the de-facto border between the two countries.
Indian and Chinese troops have remained engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation in several areas along the LAC in eastern Ladakh, signalling that the standoff could become the biggest military face-off after the Doklam crisis in 2017.
The trigger for the face-off was China’s stiff opposition to India laying a key road in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso Lake besides construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.
Military sources said China was also laying a road in the Finger area which is not acceptable to India.
After the standoff began early last month, the Indian military leadership decided that Indian troops will adopt a firm approach dealing with the aggressive posturing by the Chinese troops in areas of Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie.
Meanwhile, earlier on Wednesday, China reportedly made a slight retreat at Galwan Valley, one of the flashpoints leading to standoff with India, in Ladakh region, in a bid to resolve the border tension between the two nations.
The China’s People’s Liberation Army moved back two kilometres while the Indian Army has moved back by one kilometre.