At 7th Corps Commanders meet, India to press for complete disengagement by China at LAC


New Delhi: As India and China get ready for the 7th Corps Commander-level meet on Monday (October 12,2020) it is expected that the two sides will not only take stock of the ground situation but also discuss on steps taken for de-escalation by the Chinese side. 

Government sources have said that India will press for early and complete disengagement of troops by China from all friction points in eastern Ladakh.

The talks are slated to begin at 12 noon in Chushul on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

The agenda of the talks will be to firm up a roadmap for disengagement of troops from all the friction points in eastern Ladakh.

The China Study Group (CSG), comprising Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and three service chiefs, on Friday finalised India’s strategy for the military talks.

The CSG is India’s key policy-making body on China. India will strongly oppose any demand by China for the withdrawal of Indian troops from several strategic heights on the southern bank of the Pangong lake to kick-start the disengagement process.

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During the last round of Corps Commander-level talks, the Chinese military insisted on the withdrawal of troops by the Indian Army from several strategic heights in Mukhpari, Rezang La and Magar hill areas around the southern bank of Pangong lake.

Indian troops occupied the strategic heights after the Chinese military attempted to intimidate them in the southern bank of Pangong Lake on the intervening night of August 29 and 30.

India has been maintaining that the disengagement process has to start simultaneously at all the friction points.

“Indian will again press for early and complete disengagement of troops from all the friction points,” said a source, adding that the onus is on the Chinese military to start the process.

At the talks, the two sides are also expected to look into further steps to maintain stability on the ground and avoid any action that may trigger fresh tension in the region where troops from both sides will be facing difficult conditions in the next four months due to harsh winters, the source said.

Last week, the 19th round of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMMC) talks between India and China happened in which both sides agreed to strengthen communication between ground commanders at Line of Actual Control to “avoid misunderstandings and to maintain stability on the ground.”

A statement by the Ministry of External Affairs on the meet said both sides “noted that the agreement between the two Foreign Ministers should be sincerely implemented to ensure disengagement at all the friction points along the LAC.” 

At the previous six rounds of Corps commander-level talks, the Indian side led by Lt Gen Singh insisted on complete disengagement of Chinese troops at the earliest, and immediate restoration of status quo ante in all areas of eastern Ladakh prior to April.

The face-off between the Indian and Chinese armies began on May 5.

The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated following at least three attempts by the Chinese military to “intimidate” Indian troops along the northern and southern bank of Pangong lake area between August 29 and September 8 where even shots were fired in the air for the first time at the LAC in 45 years.

As the tensions escalated further, the foreign ministers of the two countries held talks in Moscow on September 10 where they reached on the five-point agreement to defuse the situation in eastern Ladakh.

(With input from agencies)

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