India and China seem headed for another clash along the Line of Actual Control (LoAC) in Ladakh with the People’s Liberation Army refusing to retreat from the Finger 4 area in Pangong Tso. The Indian Army, on high alert, has increased the deployment of tanks along eastern Ladakh to ward off any threat from China.
Before Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir on 17-18 July, Chief of Northern Command Lt Gen YK Joshi has arrived in Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior government officials in order to apprise them about the situation along the LoAC.
The 14-hour-long fourth round of corps commander-level talks between India and China ended inconclusively yesterday. China reportedly said in course of the meeting that it would not back off from Finger 4.
Earlier, both India and China had agreed to disengage in the Galwan Valley, Hotsprings and Gogra. India has been demanding that Chinese troops must disengage from all areas along the LoAC.
Given the treachery of the Chinese army from 1962 till now, the Indian Army has deployed about 60,000 soldiers in eastern Ladakh to check incursions that Chinese soldiers are infamous for indulging across the frontier from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh. India has deployed Bhism tanks, Apache attack helicopters, Sukhoi 30 MKI fighter jets, Chinook and Rudra helicopters near the LoAC to keep Chinese troops at bay.
The China Study Group (CSG) headed by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, in the meantime, has reviewed the outcome of the marathon 15-hour-long fourth round of corps commander-level talks between India and China.
The CSG comprises the cabinet secretary, the secretaries at the ministries of home, external affairs and defence as well as representatives of the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. It will take a call on the ‘further course of action’ on the graded, mutual de-escalation along the LoAC in Ladakh, which may be a long-drawn process stretching into several weeks.