Talks for return to status quo.

Talks for return to status quo.

India-China military delegates to meet again to resolve border issues

Strengthen security on India-China border in Himachal: Governor to Rajnath

Agency Report | New Delhi/Shimla | 29 June, 2020 | 11:00 PM

Amid tension at the borders, top Indian and Chinese military delegations will meet for the third time on Tuesday in Chushul in Leh district.

The meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

“This time the talks will be held in Chushul on the Indian side. The last two meetings were held in Moldo on the Chinese side,” said sources, adding that the agenda of the meeting would be to take forward the proposals made by both the countries for disengagement.

“All contentious areas during the current standoff will be discussed to stabilise the situation,” sources added. The last two meetings at the Corp Commander level were held on June 6 and June 22. On June 22, talks took place between Indian and Chinese military delegates for around 11 hours.

The dialogue was held in a cordial, positive and constructive atmosphere and there was “mutual consensus to disengage”.

“Modalities for disengagement from all friction areas in eastern Ladakh were discussed,” the Indian Army had stated.

The meeting between 14 Corps Commander Lieutenant General Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District chief Major General Liu Lin happened on the lines of the one they held at the Chushul-Moldo border personnel meeting (BPM) point in eastern Ladakh on June 6.

Also, Major General-level dialogue took place for three consecutive days after the violent clash at Patrolling Point 14 in Galwan Valley on June 15 left 20 Indian soldiers dead.

The three-day talks were carried out to ease the tense situation and to get 10 Indian soldiers released, including four officers, who were in Chinese captivity.

Major General Abhijit Bapat, who is the Commander of the 3 Division of the Indian Army, had raised several points with the Chinese with regard to the incident on the intervening night of June 15/16.

The clash occurred at the South bank of Galwan river, which flows in an east-west direction before its confluence with Shayok river, in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops.

Those were the first casualties faced by the Indian Army in a clash with the People’s Liberation Army since 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.

Sources said that Indian Army troopers were outnumbered by 1:5 ratio when they came under attack from the PLA soldiers at Patrolling Point 14 along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh.

“The numbers were stacked up against the Indian Army troopers. Yet, the Indian side decided to fight the PLA troopers. The Indian soldiers were outnumbered 1:5 by the Chinese troopers,” sources said.

China is also said to have used thermal imaging drones to trace the Indian Army soldiers scattered on the treacherous terrain before brutally attacking them.
Amid tension on the India-China border, Himachal Pradesh Governor Bandaru Dattatraya has written to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, suggesting precautionary measures relating to the state’s border areas of Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts that share boundaries with China.

In a letter, he said these areas are strategically important as they lie adjacent to China and amidst the tension between China and India, they need more attention.

“The state shares more than 260 km boundary with Tibet and China and therefore, we need to be suitably prepared for any eventuality,” he said.

The modes of communication and road transport in these remote border areas of the state should be strengthened.

He said at present only one independent brigade of the Indian Army has been deployed at Pooh and suggested that in future the deployment of the army might be increased to an independent mountain division.

The Governor said adequate arrangements must be made to tackle drones from China as and when required.

Dattatraya said there was an urgent need for an airstrip in the Spiti area for prompt deployment of forces in the border areas in case of need and this airstrip would act as an advanced landing ground.

“The state police is trying its best and the Superintendents of Police of Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti have visited villages in the border areas and interacted with the people to build their confidence and ensure their safety.

“However, similar continuous efforts need to be undertaken by central intelligence agencies, the Indian Army and the ITBP to instill a sense of security and confidence among the people living in the border areas,” he said.

The Governor said the Atal tunnel under the Rohtang Pass, which connects Manali in Kullu district with Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district, is likely to be completed soon.

The commissioning of the tunnel would allow year-round traffic on the Manali-Leh axis, thereby significantly increasing road traffic.

He said on account of its strategic importance, adequate arrangements for intelligence, security and maintenance of this axis round the year need to be made in advance.

He hoped these suggestions once implemented would strengthen India’s position on the India-China border and would also generate confidence among the local people. (IANS)