Indo-China tensions: Seventh round of military talks could remain inconclusive
India and China will hold the seventh round of military talks at Chusul on Monday with an agenda to ease tensions at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), but the outcome is likely to remain unchanged. While the Indian side would press for complete disengagement, the Chinese, rattled after Army occupied seven key heights, will call for stepping back. Here are more details.
For the first time, Chinese diplomat will participate in talks
The latest meeting will be attended by a Chinese diplomat, a first since conversations started in April-May to restore peace along the LAC. In the last meeting, on September 21, Naveen Srivastava, a senior in the Ministry of External Affairs, had put forward India's demands. Srivastava will be present today, along with Lt General Harinder Singh and PGK Menon, who will take charge on October 14.
CSG finalized India's strategy, decided to reject China's demands
Reportedly, the China Study Group (CSG), a policy-making body focusing on the neighboring country, on Friday finalized India's strategy for the talks. CSG has Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, and three service chiefs, as its members. It was decided to reject China's demand regarding troops' withdrawal.
Experts have little expectations from the latest round
Considering how talks have been going so far, experts have little hope from the latest one. "I don't expect any breakthrough in these talks," told Srikanth Kondapalli, a JNU professor of Chinese Studies, to Mint. Another official took a similar tone. The person said unless China withdraws completely from the Finger area in Northern Bank of Pangong Tso, India won't reciprocate, reports TOI.
India occupied heights that allow Army to monitor Chinese movements
The official said the heights, acquired by the Indian Army, hold more importance than the Northern Bank of Pangong Tso. "They provide our troops with a clear view of the PLA's Moldo military garrison, posts and roads in the region," the person said. Another senior official told News18 that India won't give in to Chinese demands unless they talk on Northern Bank and Depsang.
"Difficult to predict what Chinese will do"
"It is difficult to say what the Chinese will do. But they will not sit quietly in South Bank. They are rattled after Indian troops occupied seven strategic heights. The PLA didn't expect this," an official, aware of the developments, told News18.
India will also seek free access to patrolling points
Among other things, India is likely to demand free access to 15 patrolling points, currently blocked by the Chinese. The Indian side will also press for a time-bound de-escalation. Notably, both sides are visibly ready for a long haul, that could continue well into the winter months. After the last round of talks, India and China decided to not send more troops along LAC.
As stand-off rages, US' NSA announced "talks won't help"
The talks are being held after US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien declared that dialogue won't contribute to resolving the situation. "The time has come to accept that dialogue and agreements will not persuade or compel the People's Republic of China to change. There's nothing to be gained from looking the other way or turning the other cheek," Brien had said last week.