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After Pangong Tso Breakthrough, India and China to Discuss Disengagement at Other Friction Points in Ladakh

Ladakh: Indian and Chinese troops and tanks disengage from the banks of Pangong lake area in Eastern Ladakh where they had been deployed opposite each other for almost ten months now. (PTI Photo)

Ladakh: Indian and Chinese troops and tanks disengage from the banks of Pangong lake area in Eastern Ladakh where they had been deployed opposite each other for almost ten months now. (PTI Photo)

On the table at Moldo on Saturday will be resolution of issues at Gogra Hot Springs, CNN track junction at Demchok, Patrolling Point 15 and most contentious Depsang.

As Pangong Tso verification is done, Indian and Chinese corps commanders will meet on Saturday to discuss disengagements at other friction points in Ladakh. A top officer in the security grid confirmed to CNN-News18 that on the table at Moldo on Saturday morning there will be resolution of issues at Depsang, Gogra Hot Springs , CNN (Charding Ninglung Nallah) track junction at Demchok and Patrolling point 15.

"Earlier the Chinese side was reluctant to discuss Depsang while Indian side was clear that disengagement will be at all friction points. So now that Pangong Tso disengagement has happened and verification done by both sides, we move to phase 2 which is resolving other points of dispute. We want to resolve all issues, all friction points to be attended to," the officer said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had told Parliament that India's strategy and approach during disengagement talks with China are based on directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that "we will not allow an inch of our territory to be taken by anyone".

Out of the four principal issues, Depsang could prove to be most contentious. Since 2013, China has blocked Indian patrols to Patrolling Point 10, 11,, 11A, 12 and 13.

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In Depsang, the Chinese claim line passes through Barbad Morcha near the Y junction, while India claims that the LAC runs through Patrolling Point 15 at Hot Springs (PP 15) Patrolling Point 14 (Galwan) and 17A (Gogra ). "If 15 and 17 alpha is resolved it will be a huge breakthrough," the officer said.

Officials said that Indian posts have come up in these areas in the last few months which have obstructed Chinese plans of unhindered access and patrolling.

Galwan clashes had happened on PP14 on June 15, 2020 killing 20 on Indian sides and at least 45 on the Chinese side, as per Indian assessment.

Post Galwan disengagement, it was alleged that a buffer zone has been created inside Indian Territory which stops Indian troops from patrolling areas which it did before the clashes. The same allegations have been levelled by the Opposition parties after the Pangong Tso disengagement too.

Dispelling perception of India ceding territory or allowing buffer zones on Indian land, officials said there is no mention of any buffer zone in the agreement reached between the two sides on Pangong.

"At the North bank of Pangong Tso, each side retains its traditional patrolling rights. This is only an interim arrangement of non-patrolling for the time being to reduce friction. Traditionally, China has patrolled till Finger 4 of the North bank while Indian side has patrolled till Finger 8," officials in the know of the negotiations told News18.

As per the security grid officials, after the Galwan clashes, there were some Chinese troops left in PP 15. There are some unresolved patrolling issues there too, which is likely to be taken up by the Indian side on Saturday.

first published:February 19, 2021, 19:23 IST