PLA commander who engineered standoff with India in Ladakh replaced
New Delhi, Dec 21: General Zhao Zongqi, seen as the man responsible for the military standoff with India in eastern Ladakh has been moved out from the People's Liberation Army's powerful Western Theatre Command.
He has been replaced by General Zhang Xudong, who has never served along the Indian border. This development has sparked hope in India and it is been seen as a development that is not anti-India. General Zhao was the one who had also engineered the 2017 Doklam conflict with India. He has been a hardliner against both India and Bhutan.
General Zhao took over the Western Theatre Command in 2016. He Wass already on an extended-term that year after reaching the retirement age of 65. He was however allowed to continue in the post by President Jinping.
General Zhao a member of the Communist Party's Central Committee is said to have been eyeing for a seat on the Central Military Commission that would allow him to serve up to the age of 72.
Zhang on the other hand would be serving along the Indian border for the first time. He is not a member of the Central Committee or the National People's Congress and neither does have any political exposure.
Resuming diplomatic talks on their military standoff, India and China on Friday agreed to continue working towards ensuring complete disengagement of troops in all friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh at the earliest.
At the virtual talks, the two sides agreed that the next round of military dialogue should be held at an early date so that they can work towards an early and complete disengagement of troops in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols, the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) said.
The talks were held under the framework of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs.
The MEA said the two sides reviewed the developments along the LAC since the last round of the WMCC talks held on September 30. The military standoff erupted in early May.
'The two sides agreed that based on the guidance provided by senior leaders and the agreements reached between the two Foreign Ministers and Special Representatives, they would continue to work towards ensuring complete disengagement in all friction points along the LAC in the Western sector at the earliest,' it said in a statement.
'The two sides noted that the seventh and eighth rounds of senior commanders meetings held on October 12 and November 6 respectively had in-depth discussions in this regard and that these discussions had also contributed to ensuring stability on the ground,' the MEA said.
It said both sides agreed to maintain close consultations at the diplomatic and military level.
'They agreed that the next round of senior commanders' meeting should be held at an early date so that both sides can work towards early and complete disengagement of troops along the LAC in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols, and fully restore peace and tranquillity,' it said.