LAC standoff | India-China dialogue to focus on eastern Ladakh

Lieutenant-Generals to aim at return to pre-May 5 positions.

The first-ever talks between Indian and Chinese Lieutenant-Generals over the weekend to ease the tension on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) will focus on eastern Ladakh with the aim of moving back to the earlier positions, sources said on Thursday.

“The focus of the talks will be on the Galwan area, Pangong Tso and Gogra. The agenda will focus on the recent use of force, getting back to the positions before May 5 and subsequent de-induction of troops by China,” defence sources said.

The General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Leh-headquartered 14 Corps will lead the Indian delegation at the talks to be held at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Chinese side. The delegation would also include officers of the rank of Major-General and Brigadier of that area and a translator.

These are the first-ever talks at the level of Lieutenant-Generals, which shows how critical the discussions are, an official said.

Pangong Tso is an important focus area as Chinese troops have taken positions in large numbers at the Finger 4 area. India holds one-third of the 135 km boomerang-shaped lake. India has always held areas in Finger 4, while it claims areas so far as Finger 8.

Major scuffles have broken out in this area in the past and on May 5, which were acknowledged by the Army. There was at least one more major scuffle later in this area, the sources said.

Galwan has never been an area of contention, and sources said this would be strongly conveyed to the Chinese delegation. India and China have identified 23 “disputed and sensitive” areas along the LAC and both Galwan in Ladakh and Naku La in Sikkim do not figure on the list.

In the month-long stand-off at several areas along the LAC in Ladakh and Sikkim, Chinese troops have moved in large numbers into Indian territory at points in Pangong Tso, Galwan and Gogra in Ladakh and Naku La in Sikkim, besides the massive build-up on its side.

With inputs from The Hindu