Situation In Ladakh Unchanged Even After Foreign Ministers’ Meet In Moscow

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SRINAGAR: Despite the first face to face meeting between Union External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow, the situation is reportedly unchanged at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.

Foreign ministers of India and China, S Jaishankar and Wang Yi

As the duo met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers’ meeting, it is yet to be seen how soon the two governments’ statements translates on the ground.

The meeting which lasted for more than two hours, the two sides reached a five-point agreement to disengage and de-escalate the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

These five points are:

  1. “The two Ministers agreed that both sides should take guidance from the series of consensus of the leaders on developing India-China relations, including not allowing differences to become disputes.
  2. The two Foreign Ministers agreed that the current situation in the border areas is not in the interest of either side. They agreed therefore that the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions.
  3. The two Ministers agreed that both sides shall abide by all the existing agreements and protocol on China-India boundary affairs, maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas and avoid any action that could escalate matters.
  4. The two sides also agreed to continue to have dialogue and communication through the Special Representative mechanism on the India-China boundary question. They also agreed in this context that the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs (WMCC) should also continue its meetings.
  5. The Ministers agreed that as the situation eases, the two sides should expedite work to conclude new Confidence Building Measures to maintain and enhance peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”

Before their bilateral meeting, Jaishankar and Wang attended a 90-minute luncheon meeting hosted by Russian Foreign Minister – the three countries make the RIC (Russia, India China) grouping. A joint statement after the RIC meeting said the ministers exchanged views on further strengthening of Russia-India-China trilateral cooperation as well as “topical issues of international and regional importance, in the spirit of mutual understanding, friendship and trust”.

Meanwhile, according to a report published by The Wire, the Indian Army has further bolstered its dominance over a number of strategic heights overlooking key Chinese-held positions around Pangong Tso lake area in eastern Ladakh.

What Is Happening Between India and China In Ladakh?

“Indian troops have also been deployed in large numbers to the Finger 3 ridgeline, on the north bank of Pangong Tso, as People’s Liberation Army build-up had increased there over the last 48 hours. About 2,000 Chinese soldiers had collected on the upper reaches of the ridge on Tuesday night,” Indian Express reported.

According to the report, the Finger 3 region has been an important site of contestation over the last few days.

“Indian forces have been trying to get to the top of Finger 3, but are being prevented by a large number of PLA troops close to it. Indian troops, sources said, have made at least two attempts over the last few days to dominate the top of Finger 3, only to come up against a show of flags by PLA troops,” newspaper Indian Express quoted sources as saying.

China And The UT 

Quoting government sources The Indian Express reported that there is less than 500 metres distance between the two armies. “Forces on either side are armed. All are within shooting range and the line of sight is clear on the upper reaches. The weather too is harsh during the night. The challenge is to keep the troops calm,” the source said.

“The additional reinforcements have been made in hilltops and strategic locations around Pangong Tso lake to keep a vigil on a Chinese-held position of Finger 4. The mountainous spurs in the area are referred to as Fingers. China has been holding on to Finger 4 to 8 on the north bank of Pangong lake,” The Wire quoted sources as saying.

A Galwan Story

The current stand-off reached its peak when 20 Indian soldiers died in a violent face-off with Chinese soldiers at Galwan valley on June 15.

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