India, China agree to resolve stand-offs at Division Commanders Level


Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The ongoing military level processes to resolve palpable tensions along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Ladakh will change from now with the resolution talks to be held a level below the Corps Commanders.

A senior Army Officer said, “The Chinese have agreed to discuss resolution of the standoff at Gogra, Hotspring at the Division Commanders level as they feel that things can get resolved at that level now.” The Corps Commanders talk in future will be held if the need arises, added the officer.

On the issue of Galwan the officer did not respond. It was on June 15 last year that clashes had broken out between the troops of the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army leading to the death of 20 Indian Army soldiers including Colonel B. Santosh Babu and 4 Chinese soldiers the names of those were made public in February this year. Colonel Qi Fabao, the regimental commander from the PLA Xinjiang Military Command was seriously injured in the clash.

There have been 21 rounds of diplomatic level talks under the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border Affairs (WMCC) and 11 rounds of military dialogue between Indian XIV Corps Commander and PLA Commander of South Xinjiang military district.

It was the TNIE which broke the story in May 2020 that clashes at the Finger 4 area on the Northern Bank of Pangong Tso Lake had led to a standoff which quickly expanded to Hot Spring, Gogra, Galwan and Demchok. Also, the Chinese blocked Indian patrolling parties to the Patrolling Points 10, 11, 11A, 12 and 13 as the PLA sat at the Y-Junction in the Depsang Area which is around 30 km from the strategic Indian airstrip of Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO).

In a surprise move in the August end of 2020 Indian Army repositioned its troops occupying the heights in the South Bank of the 135 km long salt-lake Pangong Tso located at a height of around 14,000ft. This compromised the tenability of the Chinese Moldo Military Camp as the heights included the Rezang La and Reqin La, both dominating the Spanggur Gap. The heights also included those on the Kailash range like the Black Top, Helmet, Gurung Hill, Gorkha Hill and Magar Hill in addition to the others.  

The two sides decided during the Ninth Corps Commanders talk to disengage their troops from the areas of the North and South banks of Pangong Tso which was completed by 11th February.

“The steps taken have moved things forward.” Added the senior officer quoted above.

“While the troops moved back which at places had the tanks within 30 feet distance with barrels pointed on each other but the Chinese have lodged them a little deeper.” Added the officer. There ais presence around 50,000 troops along with the tanks, artillery guns, and other equipment in the area. Also, India Army has a precautionary deployment all along the LAC.

This standoff in the Eastern Ladakh is the first time that the resolution matrix has brought in the Senior Commanders or the Corps Commanders which on the Indian side is commanded by a Lieutenant General and a Major General on the Chinese Side. Otherwise, it used to get resolved at the Higher Commander Level Meeting which is held between the Major General rank officers of the two sides.

The meetings between the two militaries are held at three levels at the borders which includes the Local Commander or the Colonel level, Station Commander (Delegation Level) or the Brigadier Level and the Highest is the Major General Level called the HLCM. These are emergency meetings which happen when something emergent is required to be discussed as otherwise there are scheduled meetings on important days apart from the meetings at fixed intervals.

India and China have differing perceptions on the alignment of the 3488 km long LAC and over the years both sides had reached a series of agreements to maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC, while talks continued to reach a resolution.

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