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India, China to disengage from friction points

NEW DELHI, NOV 8 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 11/8/2020 1:45:44 PM IST

India and China are likely to disengage from some of the friction points along the LAC in eastern Ladakh in the next few days, sources said, indicating that the two nations may have reached a breakthrough in the nearly six-month long military stand-off.

Sources said the possible détente follows the eighth round of military talks between the two nations, which India had described as “candid, in-depth and constructive”.

“The two sides are likely to disengage from some of the friction points in the next few days and have been discussing the modalities for doing so in a phased manner,” reported news agency ANI quoting defence sources.

However, the sources added that the Indian side is moving ahead with caution as it wants the discussions and agreements to be implemented on the ground.

“The two sides discussed pulling back tanks and armoured vehicles from their present positions. Some development in this regard is likely to take place in the next few days,” they said.

Nearly 50,000 Indian Army troops are currently deployed in a high state of combat readiness in various mountainous locations in eastern Ladakh in sub-zero conditions. China has also deployed an equal number of troops in the region, according to officials.

The stand-off between the two sides erupted in early May and exacerbated after a violent clash in Galwan valley on June 15 in which 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed.

On Friday, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said India will not accept any shifting of the LAC, and noted that the possibility of transgressions and confrontations on the border spiralling into a larger conflict cannot be ruled out.

The Indian delegation at the eighth round of military talks was led by Lt Gen PGK Menon, the newly-appointed Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps.

Naveen Srivastava, Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs, was also part of the Indian delegation.

At the seventh round of talks too, both sides had agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution for disengagement “as early as possible”.

India has all along been maintaining that the onus is on China to carry forward the process of disengagement and de-escalation at the friction points in the mountainous region.

Following the sixth round of military talks, the two sides announced a slew of decisions including not to send more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground and avoid taking any actions that may further complicate matters.

 

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