Fifth round of LAC talks with China likely next week
India and China are expected to hold the next round military talks next week as the disengagement process at Pangong Tso is yet to see completion. Till now, the two sides have held four rounds of talks on the disengagement of troops at several friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh, which has remained tense since early-May.
Government sources told News 18 that India and China will hold high-level military talks to work out the modalities for the withdrawal of Chinese troops from Pangong Tso. Reportedly, although the Chinese military has withdrawn from Galwan Valley and some other friction points, they have not moved from Finger 5 to Finger 8 in the Pangong Tso area as demanded by India.
The sources told News 18 that the ongoing talks have led to complete disengagement of troops at patrolling points 14, 15, and 17 A. A source told the publication, "A meeting between senior military commanders of the two armies is expected in the coming week to further work out modalities of Pangong Tso lake area."
The two sides held another round of diplomatic talks on Friday. After the talks, the Ministry of External Affairs said both India and China had agreed to an early and complete disengagement of the troops along the LAC in accordance with the bilateral agreement. Sources told News 18 that India had conveyed to China it had to implement the disengagement process as agreed.
Earlier on July 5, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had held a nearly two-hour-long telephonic conversation over the border conflict. Doval and Wang had agreed on an expeditious withdrawal of troops along the Indo-China border and the disengagement process was commenced from July 6 from friction points along the LAC.
Tensions between India and China had escalated nearly three months ago when hundreds of soldiers engaged in a violent face-off on the intervening night of May 5 and 6 near Pangong Tso lake. The two sides were then locked in a bitter standoff at multiple locations until tensions escalated further on June 15 when the forces faced off again in Galwan Valley.
On the Indian side, 20 soldiers were martyred in the June 15 clash. China also confirmed that it had suffered casualties, however, it has not officially confirmed the toll yet. Reports in the Indian media pegged that China suffered over 40 casualties.