Pullback? China only talks of consensus
The Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday said that the Indian and Chinese armies had reached a “positive consensus” during the military-level talks on June 6 and the two sides were taking follow-up action to ease the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Asked specifically about reports of troops on both sides disengaging and moving back to their previous positions, as claimed by unnamed Indian government sources in a media report, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying only said that both sides were taking steps to ease the situation along the border.
“Recently, the diplomatic and military channels of China and India held effective communication on the situation along the border and reached positive consensus,” PTI quoted the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson as saying at the regular ministry briefing on Wednesday.
“The two sides are following this consensus to take actions to ease the situation along the borders.”
The news agency ANI had on Tuesday quoted anonymous “top government sources” and said: “Because of the talks to be held in the next few days and the Lt Gen-level talks held on June 6, the Chinese army has pulled back its troops from the Galwan Valley, Patrolling Point-15 and Hot Springs area in eastern Ladakh by 2 to 2.5km.”
India and China on Wednesday held another round of military talks to resolve the month-long standoff in eastern Ladakh.
The army refused to disclose the outcome of the meeting but sources in the defence ministry said India was still concerned about Chinese deployment at the LAC in the region and the Pangong lake remaining the bone of contention.
“Both sides again held talks today to amicably resolve the standoff in the border areas in accordance with various bilateral agreements to ensure peace and tranquility in the India-China border regions,” said a defence ministry official.
The meeting was held between the Indian GOC (general officer commanding) and his Chinese counterpart and they carried forward the talks between the military commanders of the two armies on June 6. That meeting had remained “inconclusive”.
“The main standoff is the Finger 4 area along the Pangong lake where the Chinese troops came in early last month and erected tents and have been hindering normal patrolling by Indian troops,” the official said.
Subsequently, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army set up tents in three other locations — Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie.
The tents came up after May 5, when several soldiers from either side were injured in a violent clash involving fisticuffs and stones near the Pangong Lake.
“Both sides have carried slight tactical disengagement in Galwan Valley as part of the confidence-building measure since talks are on to find a solution. The escalation near Pangong lake remains a matter of big concern, besides the Chinese build-up at the LAC in the four locations,” the defence ministry official said.
“Multiple rounds of talks at the military and diplomatic levels will continue in the coming days to resolve the standoff,” he added.