Tense calm prevailed over the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh for the fourth night on Saturday. Officials told News18 that though troops continued to hold their respective positions, there has been no incident anywhere along the Line of Actual Control since External Affairs Minister S Jaishanker met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. Saturday night was the fourth straight night when at North Bank of Pangong Tso, between Finger 3 and Finger 4, 1,500-2,000 troops from each side held onto their positions overnight.
"The situation is status quo. Local commanders have been talking and ensured that things do not escalate," an officer in the security establishment told CNN-News18.
Officials said the status quo is expected to continue till the corps commander-level talks scheduled this week. Sources said the China study group could meet in Delhi on Sunday to finalise modalities of corps commander level talks.
Since the meeting between S Jaishankar and Wang Yi, Brigadier-level talks have happened near Pangong but as per officials, have not led to any breakthrough. "The Chinese are only talking in tactical terms. They talk about how many men deployed on our side and where all but give no indication of disengagement or withdrawal from their end," a senior government official told News18.
The expectations from the corps commander-level talks are not very high on the Indian side. Ground assessment is that China is preparing for the long haul and India is also fast equipping for a “hot winter”.
News18 saw special equipment and tents being sent to LAC to help forces sustain the sub-zero temperatures which might go upto -50 degree Celsius in November-December. The tents made with special fabric can accommodate 8-10 soldiers and have a heating apparatus, Bukhari, to keep soldiers warm. The Bukhari runs on kerosene so efforts are also on to transport as much fuel and other essentials in the next one month before Zojila and Rohtang passes are shut due to snowfall. Government has also procured special shoes and clothing to protect soldiers from frost bites, hypothermia and high-altitude pulmonary oedema. The kind of clothing and equipment being provided to forces is of the same level as soldiers deployed in Siachen use.