Status quo ante the goal, India digs in for long haul

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Written by Sushant Singh , Krishn Kaushik | New Delhi | Published: June 27, 2020 5:21:08 am

India-China Border News Live Updates, India China, Galwan Valley satellite images, Galwan face off Maxar WorldView-3 satellite image shows close up view of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) border and patrol point 14 in the eastern Ladakh sector of Galwan Valley June 22, 2020. 

As tensions simmer on the India-China border, the government does not expect an early resolution of the two-month-old standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) because of a deadlock in both diplomatic and military talks.

A senior government official told The Indian Express that the armed forces had been given a “free hand” to deal with the situation and sufficient troops, military equipment and material have been moved to various areas along the 3,488-km-long disputed border with China.
The official said that the armed forces had started to move adequate reserves to respond to any further developments despite grappling with the challenge of Covid-19 pandemic.

Talks are deadlocked because of the obstinate Chinese approach, said the official. It is hard to decipher why especially when they keep on insisting in all the talks that “it is their territory,” the official added. However, as both sides have agreed to keep talking, that, in itself, is a good thing, the official said.

Multiple rounds of talks have been held at the diplomatic level in Beijing and at the military level in Ladakh, including two rounds at the level of Corps Commanders on June 6 and June 22. The core agenda of the Indian delegation during these talks has been the restoration of status quo ante as of April, before tensions boiled over.

India is now prepared for a long stand-off, the official said. Compromising on territorial integrity is not an option for the government, the official underlined, the mindset is to now be prepared for any eventuality on the border.

Meanwhile, back from Russia on Thursday after a three-day trip, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a detailed review of the ground situation in eastern Ladakh Friday. In an hour-long one-on-one meeting at Singh’s official residence, Army Chief General M M Naravane briefed Singh on all the faceoff “friction” points along the LAC and the preparedness of the forces.

This was Singh’s first meeting with Naravane after the Corps Commanders from both sides had met on June 22 for the second time to draw a roadmap for disengagement and de-escalation. Singh had left for Russia on June 22, and Naravane had gone to Ladakh on June 23.

Acknowledging that there is a sense in the government of being caught unawares by the scope and nature of Chinese deployment on the LAC, the official said that this is not the time to point fingers. The time for reviewing events of the past two months will be only once the situation has been brought under control, the official added.

Naravane, too, returned to Delhi Thursday from his Ladakh trip. The Army Chief was accompanied by Northern Army Commander Lt General Y K Joshi in Ladakh. They visited the forward areas to meet troops and speak to the local commanders.

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