India-China standoff: Lt Generals to talk in bid to break LAC deadlock | India News

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Jun 3, 2020

NEW DELHI: India and China will hold a top-level military meeting on June 6 in a bid to resolve the troop confrontation in eastern Ladakh, defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday, while finally admitting that Chinese soldiers were present in “a sizeable number” in the high-altitude region.
Defence sources said the June 6 meeting is set to be raised to the level of lieutenant generals from the two armies, in a clear indication that the several rounds of talks between rival colonels, brigadiers and major generals have failed to break the deadlock in the month-long military stalemate.
Northern Army Command chief Lt Gen Y K Joshi visited Ladakh on Tuesday morning to review the operational situation with the Leh-based 14 Corps commander Lt-Gen Harinder Singh and other top officers. “Another meeting between major generals was held on Tuesday but it remained inconclusive. So, Lt Gen Singh is now likely to meet with his Chinese counterpart on June 6,” said a source.
The defence minister had confirmed last week that People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers had “come a little further than they used to earlier” to make the “situation different” this time from earlier military face-offs.
On Tuesday, in an interview to a television channel, Singh said the PLA soldiers were present in “achhi khasi sankhya” (sizeable number) but were being matched by Indian troops who had taken all necessary counter-measures.
Without going into either the number of PLA troops involved or how deep their intrusions were across the LAC, he said military and diplomatic talks were underway to resolve the confrontation like the earlier ones, including the 73-day Dokalm face-off in June-August 2017.
Indian and Chinese troops have been engaging in frequent scuffles and face-offs due to “differing perceptions” of the LAC and their respective “claim lines” for a long time. “I think China also needs to think about this very seriously so that we can fully resolve this dispute,” Singh said.
As reported by TOI earlier, PLA troops intruded around 1-3 km into what India considers to be its territory in eastern Ladakh early last month. This was primarily to oppose India building feeder link roads and bridges in the “finger areas” (mountainous spurs) on the northern bank of Pangong Tso and near the Galwan river after completing the strategically crucial 255-km Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie road, which provides access to the Depsang area and Galwan Valley while ending near the Karakoram Pass.
Since then, the tense eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation at the four-five locations in the Galwan Valley region (patrolling points 14-15 and Gogra post), Pangong Tso (Finger 4-5 area) and Demchok has continued, with both sides reinforcing their positions with additional troops and heavy weapons within their territories as a formidable show of strength.
The PLA troops at the face-off sites, for instance, are backed by well over 5,000 soldiers as well as artillery guns and armoured vehicles amassed within Chinese territory across the LAC. India has more than matched the PLA build-up by moving forward troops of the Leh-based 3 Infantry Division (each division has 10,000-12,000 soldiers) into their ‘operational alert areas’, with several battalions (each has 800 soldiers) also being moved into Ladakh from other areas, as was first reported by TOI on May 24.

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