India-China military commander level talks to be held next week
New Delhi, Sep 12: Indian and Chinese armies are expected to hold a fresh round of Corps Commander-level talks early next week with a focus on implementing certain provisions of a five-point agreement reached between the two countries to disengage and de-escalate the situation in eastern Ladakh, government sources said on Friday.
India and China reached the five-point consensus to resolve the over four-month-long border row in eastern Ladakh at a meeting between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on Thursday evening on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet.
The sources said Indian Army will keenly observe Chinese military's overall approach along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh to make an assessment of their seriousness in easing tension as agreed in the Jaishankar-Wang talks.
It is learnt that Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane deliberated on the overall situation in Ladakh as well as on the provisions of agreement with top military officials in the Army headquarters.
In Chushul, another round of Brigade Commander-level talks took place for around four hours from 11 AM to 3 PM on Friday with a focus on bringing down tensions in the face-off sites.
The five-point agreement included measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions and steps to restore peace and tranquillity along the LAC. However, it has not mentioned any timeline for disengagement and restoration of peace and tranquillity.
In the five rounds of Corps Commander-level talks, the Indian side has been insisting on immediate restoration of status quo ante in all areas of eastern Ladakh prior to April. The face-off began on May 5.
The sources said India will not lower its guard and will maintain the current state of very high-level combat readiness in eastern Ladakh till there are visible changes in the ground situation.
Separately, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and top military brass on Friday deliberated on the five-point agreement.
The deliberation was attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Gen Naravane, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh among others.
The meeting also carried out a comprehensive review of the security scenario in eastern Ladakh in view of fresh confrontation by two sides in the southern bank of Pangong lake earlier this week.
The fresh confrontation further intensified the standoff and triggered a massive military build up by both sides in almost all friction points along the LAC, the de-facto border between the two countries.
In the last few days, the Army further bolstered its dominance over a number of strategic heights overlooking key Chinese-held positions around Pangong lake area.
The sources said additional reinforcements have been made in hill tops and strategic locations around Pangong lake to keep a hawk-eye vigil on Chinese-held position of Finger 4.
The mountainous spurs in the area are referred to as Finger. China has been holding onto Finger 4 to 8 on the north bank of Pangong lake, the sources said.