New Delhi: The current military-level process to resolve the palpable tension along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh will now take place at a lower level than the Corps Commanders. A senior Army official said, ‘The Chinese have agreed to discuss resolution of the standoff at Gogra, Hotspring at the Division Commanders level, as they feel that things can get resolved at that level now.’ The officer said that Corps Commanders will meet if they need to in the future.
In regards to the Galwan clash, the officer declined to comment. A year ago on 15 June, clashes between the Indian Army and Chinese P.L.A. troops brought about the deaths of 20 Indian Army soldiers including Colonel B. Santosh Babu and 4 Chinese soldiers. The names of those soldiers were made public in February of this year. As a result of the clash, Colonel Qi Fabao, the regimental commander from the PLA Xinjiang Military Command, suffered a serious injury. 21 rounds of diplomatic talks were carried out under the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC), and 11 rounds of military dialogue were held between the Indian XIV Corps commander and the PLA commander of the South Xinjiang military district.
In May 2020, clashes at Elm 4 and Hot Spring led to a standoff that eventually expanded to Hot Spring, Gogra, Galwan, and Demchok. Meanwhile, Chinese patrols were blocked from reaching patrol points 10, 11, 11A, 12, and 13 while the PLA waited at Y-junction near Depsang, around 30km from the strategically important airstrip Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO).
During the end of August of 2020, the Indian Army made a surprise move to position its troops on the South Bank of the lake, at a height of around 14,000ft. Hence, the Chinese Moldo Military Camp could not survive as the heights included both Rezang La, and Reqin La, both dominating the Spanggur Gap. In addition to the others, the heights on the Kailash range included Black Top, Helmet, Gurung Hill, Gorkha Hill, and Magar Hill.
During the Ninth Corps commanders’ meeting, both sides decided to disengage their troops from the North and South banks of the Pangong Tso. ‘The steps taken have moved things forward. While the troops moved back, which at places had the tanks were within 30 feet distance with barrels pointed on each other, but the Chinese have lodged them a little deeper.’ Officer added. 50,000 troops, as well as tanks, artillery, and other equipment are present in the area. Additionally, the Indian Army has deployed precautionary forces along the LAC.
This is the first standoff in Eastern Ladakh that the resolution matrix has engaged a Senior Commander or Corps Commander on either the Indian or Chinese side. Otherwise, it would be resolved at the Higher Commander Level Meeting between the Major General officers on both sides.
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At the border, meetings between the two militaries are conducted at three levels, including the Local Commander or Colonel level, the Station Commander (Delegation Level) or the Brigadier level, and the highest level is the Major General level or HLCM. Meetings like these are held when something urgent needs to be addressed, as there are regular meetings on important days, as well as meetings at fixed intervals. Despite the differences in perceptions about the LAC alignment, China and India have reached some agreements over the years to maintain peace and tranquility while talks continue.
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