By Sumit Kumar Singh
New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) India and China military delegates will meet on Saturday for the tenth round of talks to discuss disengagement at other friction places at the Line of Actual Control, sources said.
During the tenth round, the Corps Commanders will discuss other friction areas like Hot Springs, Gogra and 900 square km Depsang Plains. The talks will start at 10 a.m. at Moldo on the Chinese side.
The build-up in Depsang was not being considered part of the current standoff that started in May last year as escalations here took place in 2013, India has insisted during recent military commander meetings to resolve all issues across the Line of Actual Control.
“The initial attempt will be to resolve Gogra and Hot Springs. Finding a solution to Depsang might be tricky and take longer,” said an official.
The representatives during the tenth round of “corps commander level” meet will also check the status of disengagement at northern and southern banks of Pangong Lake.
The disengagement process at both banks of the Pangong Lake is expected to complete till February 20. It was on February 10 that China made an announcement that New Delhi and Beijing have agreed to disengage at Pangong Lake.
Indian Army team along with Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are physically verifying and re-verifying disengagement at Pangong Lake. “It is a joint inspection team, both from Indian Army and Chinese PLA,” said a senior government officer.
The agreement states that Chinese troops will move back to Finger 8 and Indian troops will pull back to the Dhan Singh Thapa post between Finger 2 and 3 of the north bank of Pangong Lake. Further, there would be a temporary moratorium on military activities, including patrolling to the traditional areas.
The mountain spur jutting into the lake is referred to as Finger in military parlance. The north bank of the lake is divided into 8 Fingers. Indian has claimed its territory till Finger 8 and China dispute it claims till Finger 4.
India and China are engaged in a ten-month-long standoff at the Line of Actual Control. The confrontations began on the north bank of Pangong Lake, both in the waters and the bank as Chinese incursions increased in early May last year.
The confrontation later spilled over to the southern bank following which Indian Army occupied crucial heights irking the Chinese also leading to incidents of gun shots being fired in the air.
Last year on June 15, India lost 20 soldiers during clash at Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh. China back then never revealed about casualties.
For the first time, China on Friday accepted that they lost soldiers and honoured its four People’s Liberation Army soldiers killed and one injured during clashes with Indian Army troops at Galwan.
The China Global Television Network (CGTN), Chinese state media, claimed that five PLA soldiers were honoured with honorary title and first-class merit citation.
(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)