NEW DELHI: India on Monday asked China for “concrete and complete”
from the ‘friction points’ at
, Chushul and Gogra-Hotsprings as well as finalisation of the roadmap for de-escalation along the entire frontier in eastern Ladakh.
, having gained bargaining leverage after occupying multiple tactical heights on the south bank of Pangong Tso-Chushul area on August 29-30, reiterated the demand for restoration of status quo ante during the sixth round of military talks on Monday.
But there was no official word on the outcome of the meeting between the delegations headed by 14 Corps commander Lt-General Harinder Singh and
South Xinjiang Military District
chief Major General Liu Lin, which began at 9.30 am and continued till late in the night on the Chinese side of the Moldo-Chushul border personnel meeting point.
Sources said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was told that it “should make the first move” since it had created the rival troop face-offs and military build-ups by intruding into Indian territory at multiple locations in early May. “Indian troops will reciprocate. Otherwise, it was emphasised India is prepared for the long haul,” a source said.
India has seen “some disconnect” between the five-point diplomatic consensus reached during the September 10 talks between foreign minister
and his counterpart Wang Yi and the “actual ground reality” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“The PLA continues to reinforce its positions along the LAC. It does not seem to be ready for de-escalation as yet. It may be difficult to achieve a concrete breakthrough unless China agrees to major concessions and the three-step process of disengage-deescalate-deinduct,” the source said.
The Indian military delegation had diplomatic representation for the first time, with MEA joint secretary (East Asia) Naveen Srivastava taking part in the negotiations. The Indian side also included Lt-General P G K Menon, who is slated to replace Lt-Gen Singh as 14 Corps commander next month.
As reported by TOI on Saturday, the high-powered China Study Group had discussed the different contingencies as well as preparations for a prolonged crisis. The Indian armed forces have already gone in for a massive ‘advance winter stocking’ operation all along the frontier in eastern Ladakh.
The military talks on Monday between the rival corps commanders, who last met on August 2, comes after the Indian Army’s preemptive military manoeuvre to seize the previously-unoccupied tactical heights on the ridgeline stretching from Thakung on the south bank of Pangong Tso to Gurung Hill, Spanggur Gap, Magar Hill, Mukhpari, Rezang La and Reqin La (Rechin mountain pass) on August 29-30.
Simultaneously, Indian soldiers also occupied heights overlooking the PLA deployments on the ridgeline over ‘Finger-4’ on the north bank of Pangong Tso. The parallel moves have led to at least four incidents of warning shots being exchanged after PLA tried to dislodge Indian troops from the heights between August 29 and September 8. There has, however, been no aggressive action by either side after the Jaishankar-Wang Yi on September 10.