Faceoff at LAC: India, China hold second round of Lt Gen-level talks
New Delhi: Indian and Chinese militaries are holding a second round of Lt General-level talks on Monday in an attempt to lower the temperature following the violent clashes in Galwan Valley last week that left 20 Indian Army personnel dead, official sources said.
The talks were scheduled to start at 11:30 am at Moldo on the Chinese side of Chushul sector in eastern Ladakh, they said.
The two sides are expected to deliberate on a set of confidence building measures including implementation of an agreement arrived at the first round of the Lt Gen talks on June 6, the sources said.
The Indian delegation at the talks is being led by 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen Harinder Singh while the Chinese side was to be headed by the Commander of the Tibet Military District.
The meeting is taking place in the backdrop of the escalating tension between the two sides after the Galwan Valley clashes on June 15, the most serious cross-border confrontation in the last 45 years.
The Chinese soldiers used stones, nail-studded sticks, iron rods and clubs in carrying out brutal attacks on Indian soldiers after they protested the erection of a surveillance post by China on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control in Galwan.
After the clashes, the two sides held at least three-rounds of Major General-level talks to explore ways to bring down tension between the two sides.
In a telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Wednesday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called the clashes a “premeditated” action by Chinese PLA.
Following the incident, the government has given the armed forces “full freedom” to give a “befitting” response to any Chinese misadventure along the 3,500-km de-facto border.
The Army has sent thousands of additional troops to forward locations along the border in the last one week. The IAF has also moved a sizable number of its frontline Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar, Mirage 2000 aircraft and Apache attack helicopters to several key air bases, including Leh and Srinagar, following the clashes.
The two armies were engaged in a standoff in Galwan and several other areas of eastern Ladakh since May 5 when their troops clashed on the banks of the Pangong Tso.
The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on May 5 and 6. The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 9.
Prior to the clashes, both sides had been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it was necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
Meanwhile, Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will join his Chinese and Russian counterparts at a virtual conference of the Russia-India-China trilateral on Tuesday, against the backdrop of New Delhi’s frayed ties with Beijing over the Galwan Valley clashes.
As the June 15 incident triggered fears of fresh confrontation between troops of India and China, Russia is learnt to have reached out to both the countries, urging them to resolve the border row through talks.
People familiar with the matter said India was initially reluctant to join the Russia-India-China trilateral foreign ministers’ meeting but agreed to participate in it following a request from Moscow, the host of the conference.
Interestingly, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday left for Russia on a three-day visit to attend a military parade in Moscow on June 24 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of victory of the Russian people in the second world war.
Officials said he will have a series of meetings with top Russian military brass. A senior Chinese leader is also expected to be in Moscow to attend the parade.
India lost 20 Army personnel in the violent hand-to-hand clashes with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley on June 15, in the biggest ever confrontation between the two sides after a gap of 45 years.
In a telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi June 17, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called the clashes a “premeditated” action by Chinese PLA and said they will have a “serious impact” on the bilateral relationship. (PTI)