Eastern Ladakh standoff: India, China hold third round of Lt Gen-level talks

The situation in Ladakh’s strategic Galwan Valley where a face-off between Indian and Chinese troops on Monday night claimed many lives remains tense. Amid reports emanating from New Delhi that the government has given powers to the armed forces to make emergency procurements to stock up its war reserves in the wake of escalating conflict with China along the LAC, the Srinagar-Leh highway witnessed movement of huge military convoys on Wednesday. The police and other security forces had laid additional makeshift checkpoints on the stretch of the highway between Ganderbal town and Sonamarg resort. Pic: Habib Naqash/GK

Indian and Chinese militaries on Tuesday held another round of Lt General-level talks with a focus on finalising modalities for disengagement of troops from several friction points in eastern Ladakh, government sources said.

The talks took place at a meeting point in Chushul sector on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, they said.

In the previous two rounds of talks, the Indian side pitched for restoration of status quo ante and immediate withdrawal of Chinese troops from Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso and a number of other areas.

The Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last seven weeks, and the tension escalated manifold after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash in Galwan Valley on June 15. The Chinese side also suffered casualties but it is yet to give out the details.

In the talks on June 22, the two sides arrived at a “mutual consensus” to “disengage” from all the friction points in eastern Ladakh.

The previous two rounds of dialogue took place at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC.

The Indian delegation at the meeting is headed by 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen Harinder Singh, while the Chinese side was to be led by the Commander of the Tibet Military District Major General Liu Lin.

Following the Galwan Valley incident, the government has given the armed forces “full freedom” to give a “befitting” response to any Chinese misadventure along the LAC, the 3,500-km de-facto border.

The first round of the Lt General talks were held on June 6 during which both sides finalised an agreement to disengage gradually from all the standoff points beginning with Galwan Valley.

However, the situation deteriorated following the Galwan Valley clash as the two sides significantly bolstered their deployments in most areas along the LAC.The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on May 5 and 6. The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 9.