India, China to hold 13th round of military talks today
India and China will hold the 13th round of high-level military talks on Sunday to achieve further disengagement in the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh. The talks were scheduled to start at 10:30 am at the Moldo border point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, CNN-News18 reported. Here are more details.
While India and China have completed disengagement on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso and Gogra Post, no progress has been achieved at Hot Springs and Depsang Plains. Sunday's talks will be led by Lieutenant General PGK Menon, commander of the Leh-based XIV Corps. The Chinese side will be led by Major General Liu Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang Military District.
During Sunday's talks, India is reportedly likely to focus on disengagement in the remaining friction points and also seek resolution of issues in Depsang Bulge and Demchok. It is expected that stalled troop disengagement in Patrolling Point-15—located 30 kilometers north of Gogra—will be completed during the talks. Notably, both armies completed disengagement in the Gogra area after the 12th round of talks in July.
The Chinese have been building infrastructure on their side of the border, which means "they are there to stay," Indian Army chief MM Naravane said Saturday. He said if the Chinese continue to stay for a second winter, the situation at the LAC in eastern Ladakh would become like the LoC with Pakistan. However, he believes it will not be "active" like the LoC.
Naravane said India is keeping "a close eye on their troop build-up and deployments to see that they [the Chinese] don't get into any misadventure once again," adding, "But if they are there to stay, we are there to stay, too."
Sunday's talks are taking place at a time when transgressions by the Chinese troops have been reported from Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh. Last week, Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a brief face-off near Tawang after Chinese troops tried to cross the LAC. Last month, around 100 Chinese troops reportedly entered Uttarakhand's Barahoti area and returned after spending a few hours.
India and China have been engaged in a military standoff since last May when the two forces had faced off near the Pangong Tso lake. It took an ugly turn when 20 Indian soldiers were martyred in a deadly clash in the Galwan Valley in mid-June 2020. According to reports, each side has around 50,000-60,000 troops stationed along the LAC in sensitive areas.