South Asia and Beyond

LAC Standoff: India, China Agree On Step-By-Step Disengagement, With Verification

NEW DELHI: The process to de-escalate the situation along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh will begin afresh. That’s what was agreed upon by India and China when the Corps Commanders of both sides met for nearly 14 hours on Tuesday, sources have told StratNews Global.

The third meeting between Lt General Harinder Singh, commander of 14 Corps, and Major General Liu Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang military region, that began at 10.30 am on Tuesday continued beyond midnight.

Every friction point from north to south—PP-14, PP-15, PP-17A and the north bank of Pangong lake (between F4 and F8)—was discussed individually, the sources added.

Both sides decided to disengage, something that was decided on June 6 and re-confirmed on June 22, when the two commanders had met. It’s learnt that the Indian side added a caveat: they would want to verify that each step that’s decided is executed on the ground before the next step is taken.

So a step-by-step process will begin simultaneously at each friction point. After each step, there will be a 72-hour lag so that each side verifies whether the other has complied with what’s been agreed, StratNews Global has learnt.

Nitin A Gokhale WhatsApp Channel

The Indian side categorically said they don’t trust the local Chinese commanders who had betrayed Col. Santosh Babu and his men on June 15, leading to a physical clash in Galwan Valley that led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers on June 15. China is yet to specify the casualties it suffered but according to Indian assessment, that number could be anywhere between 30 and 35, with many more injured.

Given the trust deficit, India wants senior commanders on both sides (more so on the Chinese side) to re-verify each step for withdrawal before proceeding further.

A detailed discussion was held on the finger areas (from F4 to F8) as well, where the Chinese have pitched tents and dug up trenches. The first likely step for disengagement here is likely to be withdrawal from the spurs, it is believed. The Chinese are said to have somewhat agreed to this. The process in the finger areas could take long, maybe weeks, but India is ready for the long haul.