India and China taking measures to disengage troops in Eastern Ladakh

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New Delhi: India and China are taking measures to disengage thousands of troops involved in a standoff in eastern Ladakh since early May, with Monday’s 11-hour lieutenant general-level talks being described as “cordial and positive”.

Sources said there has been a “mutual consensus to disengage” from all areas, including the contentious Finger area along the Pangong Tso lake. But it’s expected to be a long drawn out process because of the mutual distrust after the Galwan clashes.

“Modalities for disengagement from all friction areas in eastern Ladakh were discussed and will be taken forward by both sides,” sources said. However, the details are not being shared due to the operational reasons and each action would need to be verified to move ahead.

Sources said strong buildup of Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control — additional PLA troops have come in over the past weeks — remained a big concern. It is being viewed as an escalatory move though the deployments are being matched by the Indian side as well.

While the Chinese have agreed to reduce troops and thin down deployments along LAC, including at the Finger area, the Indian side is wary after the Galwan incident. As reported by ET, the meeting of lieutenant generals was originally planned for June 16 and the precondition was that all positions at the Galwan flashpoint be vacated.

However, a day prior to the meeting, Col Santosh Babu and his men who had gone to verify whether the positions had been vacated or not came under attack, resulting in a clash that killed 20 Indian soldiers, including Col Babu, and the Chinese commanding officer as well.

The situation remains tense at Galwan as the Chinese positions on its side of LAC is active. Large formations are visible near the Gogra post and Finger 8 to 4 area along the Pangong remains occupied by PLA troops.

Sources said, as per the understanding, troops would be pulled out in an incremental manner, with the Chinese expected to take the first steps as they started the provocation by diverting thousands of soldiers involved in an exercise nearby to the Indian border.

Sources said a joint secretary level working mechanism is expected to meet on Wednesday to take forward the process. In addition, more meetings would be carried out at the brigadier and colonel levels.





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