India, China’s Lt Gen-level Talks Likely by July 15: Sources

Bilateral

New Delhi: Despite no clashes between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Eastern Ladakh, but total disengagement is yet to be completed and as part of this exercise, another round of high level talks between the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are expected to be held by July 15.

These talks are slated to thrash out modalities for the next phase of de-escalation as part of complete disengagement of troops in eastern Ladakh besides finalising a roadmap for ensuring peace and tranquility in the high-altitude region, military sources said.

There was no change in the ground position, and the next phase of the de-escalation process will kick off only after the fourth round of talks between corps commanders of the two sides, they said.

China’s People’s Liberation Army has already completed pulling back troops from Gogra, Hot Springs and Galwan Valley and significantly thinned down its presence in the ridgeline of Finger Four in the Pangong Tso area in the last one week as demanded by India.

India has been insisting that China must withdraw its forces from areas between Finger Four and Eight.

The mountain spurs in the area are referred to as Fingers.

A relative calm prevails in the areas, the sources said, adding India has been maintaining a hawk-eyed vigil in all areas along the Line of Actual Control in the Ladakh region and was fully ready to deal with any eventualities.

The top military brass in Delhi is monitoring the situation in the region round-the-clock, they said, adding there is no question of lowering guard at all.

The formal process of disengagement of troops began July 6 after a nearly two-hour telephonic conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on July 5.

The two militaries have held three rounds of Lt General-level talks so far and the last one took place on June 30 during which both sides agreed on an “expeditious, phased and step wise” de-escalation as a “priority” to end the standoff.

The first round of the Lt General level talks was held on June 6 during which both sides finalised an agreement to disengage gradually from all the standoff points beginning with Galwan Valley. However, the situation deteriorated following the Galwan Valley clashes as the two sides significantly bolstered their deployments in most areas along the LAC.

The second round of talks took place on June 22.

Both sides have held several rounds of diplomatic and military talks in the last few weeks to ease tension in the region.

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