Indo-China talks fail to ease tension

TNN Bureau. Updated: 5/23/2020 12:25:13 PM Front Page

NEW DELHI: At least five rounds of talks between Indian and Chinese troops this week have failed to de-escalate tension in Pangong Tso lake and Galwan Valley in Ladakh as the two sides maintained aggressive posturing in the disputed border areas, government sources said on Friday.

The Indian Army has been matching up to the Chinese build up in both Pangong Tso lake and Galwan Valley, the two locations in Ladakh which have witnessed major reinforcement of troops in the last two weeks, sources said.

There was very little chance of easing of tension anytime soon as both sides are aggressively holding onto their respective positions, they said.

It is learnt that diplomatic channels are also working overtime to bring down the tension between the two armies which was triggered by China's objection to laying of a road by India in Galwan Valley.

The two sides have significantly bolstered their presence along the un-demarcated border in Eastern Ladakh after they were engaged in a violent face-off on May 5 which was followed by a similar incident in North Sikkim on May 9.

Local commanders of the two armies will continue talks till a resolution is found, the sources said.

In the midst of escalating tension, India on Thursday said Chinese military was hindering normal patrolling by its troops and asserted that India has always taken a very responsible approach towards border management.

At a media briefing, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava also strongly refuted China's contention that the tension was triggered by trespassing of Indian forces across the Chinese side.

India's response came two days after China accused the Indian Army of trespassing into its territory, claiming that it was an "attempt to unilaterally change the status" of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Sikkim and Ladakh. The LAC is the de-facto border between the two countries.

Pangong Tso lake and Galwan Valley, several areas along the LAC in Ladakh and North Sikkim too witnessed major military build-up by both the sides. The sources said the Chinese side has erected at least 40-50 tents in the Galwan Valley following which India has also sent reinforcements.

On May 5, around 250 Indian and Chinese army personnel clashed with iron rods, sticks, and even resorted to stone-pelting in the Pangong Tso lake area in which soldiers on both sides sustained injuries.

In a separate incident, nearly 150 Indian and Chinese military personnel were engaged in a face-off near Naku La Pass in the Sikkim sector on May 9. At least 10 soldiers from both sides sustained injuries.

The troops of India and China were engaged in a 73-day stand-off in Doklam tri-junction in 2017 which even triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long LAC. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet while India contests it.


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