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Border row: India, China hold Major General-level talks on disengagement process

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Senior army commanders of India and China on Saturday held extensive talks in taking forward the disengagement process along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at a number of friction points including in Pangong Tso and Depsang in eastern Ladakh, people familiar with the developments said.

The Major General-level talks began at 11 am at a border personnel meeting point in Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) area on the Chinese side of the LAC and concluded at 7:30 pm, they said.

The meeting primarily focused on implementation of certain decisions taken at the fifth round of talks between Corps Commanders of the two armies last week on the disengagement process as well as to bring down prevailing tension in the region, they said.

"The two sides discussed various finer details on taking forward the disengagement process in the friction points where the withdrawal of Chinese troops is yet to complete," said a source on Saturday's talks.

The Indian delegation at the talks was headed by Major General Abhijit Bapat, General Officer Commanding of the 3 Infantry Division.

It is learnt that the two sides also deliberated on having a specific timeline for withdrawal of troops from all the friction points.

At the latest rounds of military talks, the Indian side has been forcefully insisting on complete disengagement of Chinese troops at the earliest, and immediate restoration of status quo ante in all areas of eastern Ladakh prior to May 5 when the standoff began following a clash between the two armies in Pangong Tso.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has pulled back from Galwan Valley and certain other friction points but the withdrawal of its troops has not moved forward from the Finger areas in Pangong Tso, Gogra and Depsang as demanded by India, according to sources.

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.

The formal process of disengagement of troops began on July 6, a day after a nearly two-hour telephonic conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on ways to bring down tensions in the area.

Both sides held several rounds of Major General-level talks in May and June before the level of negotiations was upgraded to the level of Corps commanders.

Considering the situation on the ground, the Indian Army and the IAF have decided to maintain a very high-level of operational readiness in all areas along the LAC in Ladakh, North Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh till a "satisfactory" resolution to the border row with China is arrived at, sources said.

Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane has already conveyed to all the senior commanders of the Army, overseeing operation of the frontline formations along the LAC, to keep up a significantly high state of alertness and maintain the aggressive posturing to deal with any Chinese "misadventure", they said.

The fresh directive to maintain a very high-level of alertness came in the wake of lack of forward movement in implementation of the disengagement process by Chinese military in friction points like Pangong Tso, Depsang and Gogra.

The Indian Army has already made elaborate plans to maintain current strength of troops and weapons along the LAC during the harsh winter months in eastern Ladakh and all other sensitive areas along the LAC.

It is also in the process of procuring a number of weapons, ammunition and winter gears for the frontline troops.

The temperature in some of the high-altitude areas along the LAC drops to minus 25 degree celsius in the winter months.

Tags:

India  China  LAC  Military  Talks  Ladakh  Indian Army  PLA  
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