Defence Minister takes stock of India-China border situation

Rajnath Singh.

NEW DELHI: Amid reported de-escalation of troops from stand-off positions, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday held a review meeting with Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs to gauge the ground situation on the Line of Actual Control and what needs to be done, sources said.

This is the second review meeting the Defence Minister held within a week’s span. The first one was on June 8, two days after a Lt General-level meeting between the Indian Army and Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The second one took place on Friday, two days after a Major General-level meeting between India and Chinese military.

“Latest assessments on Line of Actual Control ground situation done after military talks,” said a source in the ministry. General Rawat briefed the Minister about the troop deployments at the stand-off sites in eastern Ladakh.

Rajnath Singh also took a review of ground situation across the entire LAC, including Arunachal Pradesh. He also discussed about ongoing infrastructure work at the LAC. On Thursday, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said that India and China have agreed for early resolution of ongoing face-off at the LAC.

MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said: “It was agreed that an early resolution of the situation would be in keeping with the guidance of the leaders.” “The two sides are, therefore, maintaining their military and diplomatic engagements to peacefully resolve the situation at the earliest as also to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas. This is essential for the further development of Indian-China bilateral relations.”

Both sides have had discussions at military and diplomatic levels on the face-off. At the level of militaries, the Corps Commanders of India and China met at Chushul-Moldo region on June 6 and again on June 10, talks happened at the Major General level. According to a source, the “meeting ended on a positive trajectory and more similar meetings between both the country forces’ delegates will take place”.

Major General-level talks took place at Chushul-Moldo on Wednesday about ongoing de-escalation and Pangong stand-off situation was discussed,” said a senior government officer, adding that the during the meeting, discussion took place for further de-escalation in Ladakh.

“More talks at different levels in days to come for complete de-induction and withdrawal of additional troop deployment close to Line of Actual Control,” the official said. On Wednesday in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that both sides are taking steps to ease the situation along the borders.

“Recently the diplomatic and military channels of China and India held effective communication on the situation along the border and reached positive consensus. The two sides are following this consensus to take actions to ease the situation along the borders,” the spokesperson said.

Clashes between Indian and Chinese troops happened between May 5 and May 8 several times. Thereafter, Chinese increased the deployment of troops and artillery and Indian Army too deployed and moved artillery in equal numbers. “The reserve troops in Ladakh were swiftly moved to the standoff positions,” said a source.

Now, both countries have decided to de-induct and de-escalate troops and guns and move backwards.

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