LAC tensions: Crucial India-China talks on border situation today
Top military officers from China and India will attempt to defuse the raging tensions in Eastern Ladakh through talks today. While New Delhi hopes this crucial meeting makes headway in ending the deadlock, people in the know suggested results will be reflected after more than one conversation. The meeting will happen at the Indian Border Point Meeting hut in Chushul-Moldo. Here's more.
The tensions between the Asian neighbors peaked after Indian infrastructure projects were seen as trespassing by the Chinese. Frequent skirmishes between troops on ground zero were reported in May. Soon, China sent over 5,000 soldiers to support its frontline PLA personnel. India, more than matched the build-up, by deploying Leh-based 3 Infantry division and several battalions. The tensions caught United Nations' attention too.
The chief of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Eliot Engel, slammed China's aggression and said the country wants to bully its neighbors. Five key areas, including the Pangong Tso and Galwan Nala, have been witnessing tensions for weeks now. On the raging tensions, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh commented that it would be better if it's resolved through dialog.
Before today's meeting, foreign ministry officials from both countries spoke on video-call, the first diplomatic conversation on the tensions along the Himalayan border, and concluded that "the two sides should handle their differences through peaceful discussion" and not let the current situation snowball into a dispute. External Affairs Ministry's Joint Secretary (East Asia) Naveen Srivastava spoke with Wu Jianghao, Director-General at China's Foreign Ministry.
"Both sides agreed that in accordance with the guidance provided by the leadership, the two sides should handle their differences through peaceful discussion bearing in mind the importance of respecting each other's sensitivities, concerns, and aspirations and not allow them to become disputes," MEA said.
Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, Commander of 14 Corps, will lead the talks from the Indian side. China will be represented by Major General Lin Liu, Corps Commander, South Xinjiang Military Division. His rank is lower but he oversees operations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). 10 officers from both sides, who were part of earlier meetings, will also be present.
An official told IE that four to five meetings would be required to end the contention. For now, India is happy talks are happening. "In these meetings, the decision-making authority is not always with commanders who are chairing the delegations. Even during the meeting, very often both sides ask for an adjournment to confer with their higher commander on a point," the official said.
PTI said the Indian side will press for the restoration of the status quo along the border, oppose the build-up of PLA, and ask China to not raise an objection to the infrastructure projects. China apparently protested the road construction in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso Lake. It also opposed to another project in the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road.
Another official added, "We will convey our points firmly, but they have been intransigent on their intrusions, particularly in the Pangong Tso area." Reportedly, India wants a reduction in heavy military deployment on both sides of the border. This could be the first step in building confidence and eventually ending the tensions. Reportedly, the Indian side will make the first submission in the meeting.