India, China Major Generals discuss situation at Depsang

This is the first senior-level military talk since the violent clash at Galwan on June 15

India and China on Saturday held talks at the Major General-level to discuss issues concerning the strategic Depsang Plains, a defence source said on Saturday.

Despite the strategic importance of Depsang Plains, the series of military talks held so far have focussed on the standoff areas at Galwan, Gogra Hotsprings and Finger area of Pangong Tso.

Talks began around 11 a.m. on Sunday morning at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) and went on till late evening. The discussions are limited to Depsang to discuss issues of varying claims and also blocking of patrols by each other, a defence source said.

Saturday’s meeting was a normal one to discuss patrolling patterns by both sides. There was no discussion on disengagement or de-escalation, just routine patrolling as part of border management, the source stated.

Stating that Depsang is not a problem that started in 2020, the source added that meetings like this happen regularly to discuss routine issues.

The Depsang Plains along with Pangong Tso are the two major areas of concern in the ongoing standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

This is the first Major General-level talks since the stoppage of all established meetings between Colonels, Brigadiers and Major General-level meetings following the violent clash at Galwan on June 15.

Military talks since then have been limited to Corps Commander level.

As reported by The Hindu on June 2, there is heavy Chinese presence in the Depsang Plains, at a crucial area called the Bulge, and PLA troops have also been blocking Indian Army patrols from reaching the Patrolling Points (PP) 10 to 13. There has also been build up of tanks and armoured vehicles on the Chinese side very close to the LAC.

The Chinese ingress in this area threatens Indian positions at Burtse and Raki Nala well inside Indian territory and further DBO by bringing Chinese troops closer to the 255 km long crucial Darbuk-Skyok-DBO road. Depsang is also close to the Karakoram Pass, overlooking the very strategic Saltoro Ridge and Siachen glacier.

Depsang is one of the few places on the LAC where tank manoeuvres are possible. During the 1962 war Chinese troops had occupied Depsang Plains and in 2013 Chinese troops came 19 kms inside and pitched tents resulting in a 21 day standoff.

With inputs from The Hindu