Corps Commanders of the Indian and Chinese armies, who held talk for nearly 11 hours Monday, reached “mutual consensus to disengage” with detailed discussions on modalities of sector-wise, stage-wise disengagement on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.
But no timeline for the disengagement process was finalised at the meeting, sources said Tuesday, a day after XIV Corps Commander Lt General Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District Commander Major General Liu Lin met at the Moldo border point on the Chinese side, opposite Chushul.
On Tuesday, Army chief General MM Naravane reached Leh on a two-day visit to Ladakh. He visited the Military Hospital Leh and met the soldiers injured in the Galwan Valley incident on June 15 — 20 Indian personnel were killed in clashes with Chinese troops
General Naravane, who is scheduled to visit forward areas in Ladakh Wednesday, is being accompanied by Northern Army Commander Lt Gen YK Joshi who was in Delhi to attend the Army Commanders Conference. The Army Commanders had held a detailed review meeting on the situation on the northern and western fronts.
An official told The Indian Express that the meeting at Moldo built on the understanding reached in the previous meeting of the Corps Commanders on June 6, and involved detailed discussions on “all the friction areas,” i.e., Galwan Valley, Hot Springs and Pangong Tso areas.
The roadmap discussed at the talks, hosted by the Chinese side, was the one being followed till “it was disrupted by that unfortunate incident”, the official said, referring to the June 15 showdown. It means a sector-wise disengagement, starting from one of three friction areas and then moving to other areas.
Within each sector, the official said, there will be a stage-wise disengagement by the two sides where soldiers from both sides will move back by a certain distance. It was during this stage-wise process of vacating a de facto ‘buffer zone’ in Galwan Valley that the soldiers of both sides had clashed.
The stage-wise disengagement process will also involve shifting of military camps and reduction in strength of soldiers on both sides, the official said. Both sides have deployed a large number of troops all along the LAC in Ladakh since early May.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the meeting shows that China and India are willing to resolve differences, handle the situation and de-escalate tension through dialogue and consultation.
“At the recent meeting, both sides exchanged frank and in-depth views on issues related to current border control. And both sides agreed to take necessary measures to ease the situation. The two sides also agreed to maintain communication and work together to promote peace in the area,” Zhao said, according to the state-run CGTN network.
China and India also agreed to maintain communication and work together to promote peace in the border areas, Zhao said. State-run tabloid Global Times, which echoes the views of the Communist Party of China, quoted the spokesperson saying that both sides hope to properly handle their differences through dialogue and consultation.
Pangong Tso remains an area of concern for India. Ever since May, Chinese troops have built infrastructure and made deployments up till Finger 4, 8 km west of Finger 8 which India says marks the LAC. India has been seeking restoration of status quo ante — that troops on both sides move back to April locations, before the build-up on the border.