In Round 2 Of Ajit Doval’s Talks With China, Steps After Ladakh Pullback
With a mutual withdrawal in three flashpoint areas of Ladakh complete, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Friday will be leading talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi for the second time in a week in efforts to scale down the tension between the two neighbours over the Line of Actual Control.
The first round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination or WMCC on July 5 had triggered the disengagement which has been completed on mutually agreed on terms and now India will focus on dismantling structures, restoring ridge lines, and restoring status quo ante, sources said.
“With cautious optimism, we would be moving forward and would be reviewing the overall progress made on ground,” a senior officer in government told NDTV.
According to the latest reports with the central government, the initial disengagement has been completed at Galwan, Gogra and Hot Springs areas. Thinning out is currently in progress at the Pangong Tso Lake area.
“It was a difficult situation as we did not have anything to counter bargain. But India defended its stance and good news is China seems to have relented,” a senior bureaucrat said.
The thinning out of Chinese soldiers is, however, the slowest around the fourth standoff point – the Finger Area on the north bank of Ladakh’s Pangong Tso, the saltwater glacial lake spread across 700 sq km, where the Chinese had reportedly set up bunkers and observation posts.
According to the government official, with no fixed border near Pangong Tso, Indian troops used to go till Finger 8 to patrol. “Patrolling has been stopped for time being but would be restored as things cool off. We will physically verify each of our points,” he added.
The Finger Area – a set of eight cliffs overlooking the lake – was one of the areas where Chinese intrusions were reported since April, dramatically raising tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
In the worst clash between the two countries in nearly half a century, troops fought for hours with rods and clubs on June 15 leading to casualties on both sides, including the death of 20 Indian soldiers.