Context: Indian and Chinese troops began partial “disengagement” from some of the standoff points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh.
More on news:
- It is the first sign of moving towards resolution of the month long standoff between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army.
- A series of ground level military talks are due to be held over the next 10 days, to try and resolve most of the other issues at the local level.
- At some points in the Galwan Valley, Chinese troops have moved back 2-3 km. However, there is no change on the ground situation at Pangong Tso.
- The first time senior government officials have acknowledged the continued presence of Chinese troops in these areas where India patrols, and the heavy build-up of vehicles and firepower behind the LAC lines.
- At the meeting, both sides agreed and identified five locations of conflict currently, PP 14, 15 and 17, North bank of Pangong Tso and Chushul.
- It has also been proposed that the Corps Commanders should have formal meetings once or twice every year for better interaction between the two armies at a higher level.
- The tactical level hotlines at border meeting points at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO)- Tien Wein Dien (TWD) and Chushul-Moldo remain “on and open”.
Pangong Tso Issue:
- Territory is marked by ridges or “Fingers” in increasing serial order, towards Chinese territory.
- India claims upto Finger 8 and patrols upto Finger 4, but after a major skirmish on May 5, Chinese troops have dug in at Finger 4.
- No mention was made of the situation at Naku La in Sikkim, where the stand-off continues, as the focus for these talks was the Ladakh situation.
- India’s construction of a road to Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in the Galwan Valley has been suggested as one reason for the recent standoff between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
- Recent conflicts: Tensions between the two sides escalated with China accusing India of trying to change the status quo along the LAC, the de-facto border between the two countries.
- The stand-off in Galwan valley, according to reports, was triggered by China moving in troops and equipment to stop construction activity by India, which is well within India’s side of LAC.
- Both countries have brought in reinforcements to Demchok, Daulat Beg Oldie and around the Galwan river, as well as at Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh.
- The resolution of the last three crises — at Depsang plain in northern Ladakh during 2013, Chumar In eastern Ladakh in 2014, and Doklam on the east at Bhutan’s border with China in 2017—required ever-higher political intervention.
- China has a history of changing lines.
- In the late 1950s, the lines kept moving westward, and ultimately led to the 1962 war.
- In 2002, when maps were exchanged during the Expert Group meetings, China showed a claim line in the western sector which was different from what existed on the ground since 1962.
- Again in 2007, China’s perception of the border in Depsang in the Ladakh sector, in Sikkim, and in many other places appeared to change.
- In 2017, China wanted to unilaterally change the boundary and the trijunction with Bhutan and India, which sparked the Doklam standoff.
- Until 2006, Chinese troops were positioned a few kilometres behind the LAC, except for a few places where they were deployed eyeball to eyeball with Indian troops.
- From 2007 onwards, we have seen a surge in defence infrastructure development along the LAC.
- At many locations, troops have been moved to forward areas.
Image Source: the hindu