Army delegations from India and China, led by major general-ranked officers, on Friday held discussions in eastern Ladakh again to resolve the standoff between border troops as defence minister Rajnath Singh met the military brass here and reviewed the situation along the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC), two officers said on condition of anonymity.
This was the fifth meeting between the two major generals to break the stalemate that began with a violent confrontation between rival patrols near Pangong Tso on the night of May 5-6.
The two officers last met at Patrolling Point 14 near the Galwan area on Wednesday as part of continuing efforts to resolve the confrontation that eased slightly with limited disengagement of forces at some LAC hotspots earlier this week.
Friday’s meeting between major general Abhijit Bapat, commander of the Karu-based HQs 3 Infantry Division, and his Chinese counterpart went on for nearly five hours, said one of the officers cited above.
In Delhi, the defence minister was briefed on the ongoing border scrap and the status of the military-level dialogue to resolve it at a meeting with chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat and the service chiefs, said the second officer cited above.
Earlier this week, the two sides began what Indian officials described as a “limited military disengagement” at three hotspots along the LAC – Galwan Valley, Patrolling Point 15 and Hot Springs.
The limited disengagement happened after a meeting between Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, commander of Leh-based 14 Corps, and Major General Liu Lin, commander of the People’s Liberation Army, in the South Xinjiang region last Saturday.
The focus is now on resolving the situation on the northern bank of Pangong Tso, which has been at the centre of the ongoing border scrap and where troops are still locked in a face-off.
Last month’s violent confrontations between Indian and Chinese soldiers in eastern Ladakh and north Sikkim triggered a military build-up on both sides of the LAC that stretched from Ladakh to Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, as reported by Hindustan Times on Friday.
The Chinese build-up began immediately after clashes between border troops in Ladakh and Sikkim on May 5-6 and May 9, and predated the June 6 meeting between Lieutenant General Singh and his Chinese counterpart at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC.
India and China are continuing diplomatic and military engagements for an “early resolution” of the stand-off between border troops, the external affairs ministry said on Thursday. More military talks are planned in the coming days to ease border tensions.