India, China to hold commander-level talks today, disengagement in finger area key focus

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India and China will hold military-level talks at Moldo to discuss the disengagement along the contested areas of Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The Corps Commander-level talks will be held on the Chinese side of the LAC, according to Indian Army. It is likely to start at 11 am.

The Indian side will focus on complete disengagement by China in the Finger area.

Both the countries have held a series of talks since a face-off in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15. India had lost 20 soldiers in the skirmish, and China never officially announced the number of casualties it suffered.

A mutual consensus to disengage from all friction areas along the contested LAC was reached during a marathon meeting between senior Indian and Chinese commanders at Moldo in June.

The talks that went on for nearly 11 hours were aimed at cooling tensions and thinning the military build-up on both sides of the border.

The meeting was held between the delegations led by Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps, and Major General Liu Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang military region.

But after initial progress, the disengagement process has virtually come to a halt. While China has claimed that disengagement has been completed at most locations, New Delhi has called on Beijing to work sincerely for complete de-escalation and full restoration of peace along the LAC.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava acknowledged last week that there has been “some progress” towards disengagement and de-escalation along the LAC, though the process is far from complete.

People familiar with developments had said that the Chinese side is yet to deliver on understandings regarding disengagement reached during the July 5 phone conversation of the Special Representatives on the border issue and meetings of corps commanders.

Northern Army commander Lieutenant General YK Joshi had recently said that disengagement between forward deployed Indian and Chinese soldiers from friction areas along the contested LAC was a “complex and intricate process” that required “diligent execution”.

The Chinese have, meanwhile, have maintained a build-up of close to 40,000 troops with heavy weaponry deployed in front and depth areas.

India has made it clear that for the situation to be normalised, the Chinese will have to completely de-escalate and move back troops to their permanent locations.

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