India is ready for the ‘long haul’ with China until winter after the third round of military talks
- No significant troop reduction seems to be on the cards even after the third round of military talks between India and China.
- Indian troops will reportedly continue to focus on Galwan Valley, Gogra Post, Hot Spring and Pangong Tso.
- Full disengagement may not happen until the winter months kick in.
The 3rd round of Corps Commander-level meeting between India and China went on for 12 hours and got over at 11 PM last night: Army Sources— ANI (@ANI) 1593571933000
Both sides discussed procedures and mechanisms to disengage along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) but no significant troop reduction is reportedly on the cards. “Indian Army is preparing for the long haul leading up to the winter months,” sources told CNBC.
In the Galwan Valley, the water temperature in the river is already sub-zero. In another few weeks, a ‘general winter’ will take over the area, which will reportedly make the Chinese positions untenable, according to military commanders.
The discussions were led by Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps, and Major General Liu Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang military region. The two first met on June 6 and then again on June 22 in Moldo on the Chinese side of LAC after border tensions erupted between both the countries in May. This time the meeting was hosted on the Indian side of the border in Chushul.
Locking in for the long haul
India and China are locked in a standoff along the Galwan Valley, the Gogra Post, Hot Springs and Pangong Tso.
Ahead of the June 30 meeting, the Indian Army deployed six T-90 missile-firing tanks — also called Bhishma tanks — and shoulder-fired anti-tank missile systems in the Galwan Valley sector. It reportedly did so after the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) amped up its own position on the river bed with more armoured personnel carriers and troop tents.
China also put up signage on the bank of Pangong Tso, between Finger 4 and Finger 5, to claim it as Chinese territory. It has been using thermal imaging drones to trace the Indian Army soldiers scattered on the treacherous terrain before brutally attacking them as per IANS.
The issue of the increase in the concentration of Chinese troops along the LAC, deployment of weapon systems and construction activity were brought up during the meeting. India particularly asked China to pull back from the Finger 4 to Finger 8 stretch in Pangong Tso, Patrolling Point 14 in Galwan Valley and the Bottleneck area in the Depsang Plains, according to TOI.
Prior to the latest meeting, on June 22, both sides agreed to physically distance themselves by at least 2.5 to 3 kilometres at these friction sites. However, after inching back briefly, the PLA reportedly made its way back. Sources told TOI that instead of easing off, the Chinese troops have fortified their positions further.
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