De-escalation in Ladakh to be a long-drawn process

11 months ago 54
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NEW DELHI: India is prepared for the long haul in the de-escalation of the month-long troop confrontation in eastern Ladakh with China, though a discussion spanning seven hours between senior military officers on Saturday has set the ball rolling in the right direction. India, having pumped in thousands of additional troops and heavy weaponry into the high-altitude region, will continue to press for return to the ground situation as it existed in mid-April along the Line of Actual Control, sources said on Sunday.
The two sides resolved to defuse the confrontation in a “peaceful manner”, without any further escalation and violence between the rival troops, in the meeting between 14 Corps commander Lt-General Harinder Singh and

South Xinjiang

military district chief Major General Liu Lin on Saturday.
The Indian side, while asserting that it was upgrading infrastructure well within its own territory, asked the People’s Liberation Army to adhere to

bilateral agreements

and border management protocols, including specific provisions in

the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement

of 2013, sources said. The agreement even lays down procedures to be followed if troops come face to face. India, however, is determined to restore status quo ante, which will be hinge on three things. PLA will to have to withdraw its troops who intruded into

Indian territory

at four-five confrontation sites at Pangong Tso, Gogra-Hot Springs area and

Galwan Valley

PLA will also have to demolish its bunkers and other fortifications built at these sites, especially in the ‘Finger-4 to Finger 8’ (mountainous spurs that are separated by a distance of 8 km) area on the northern bank of Pangong Tso. The PLA since early-May has blocked all Indian patrols going west to east beyond Finger-4 by physically occupying the area right till Finger-8, the point where the LAC runs from north to south.
China will also need to pull back the 5,000-7,000 PLA troops from areas along the LAC close to the face-off sites.
The actual de-escalation process, if and when it takes place, is likely to be a long-drawn one.
There will be hard-nosed negotiations between local commanders on the “different points of differences” and the subsequent working out of the modalities for mutual and verifiable de-induction of troops, sources said.

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