Border situation cooling, says Army; military officers meet again today

The Army sources said they met one-to-one for almost three hours before engaging further at delegate-level talks
Top Army sources on Tuesday said, based on a decision taken at the meeting between Indian and Chinese generals in Ladakh on Saturday, lower-ranked officers from both sides will meet over the coming 10 days to discuss conflicts in their respective areas of responsibility.

The sources said that in this series of “higher military commander level” (HMCL) meetings, the first will be held on Wednesday at Patrolling Point 14 (PP14), near the Pangong Tso. 

The sources also claimed that both sides have “retreated a bit” after the Saturday meeting. Describing the meeting between Indian and Chinese corps commanders on Saturday, the Army sources said they met one-to-one for almost three hours before engaging further at delegate-level talks. 
The sources said the two sides “mutually agreed and identified five locations of conflicts” between the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Indian troops. These conflict locations are PP14, PP15, PP17, the north bank of Pangong Tso and Chushul. 

Countering criticism that the PLA intrusions took the Army by surprise, the sources claimed “there has not been any Intelligence failure” and that the “Indian Army has stopped the PLA quickly and strongly.” They claimed the army “has matched (the PLA) in terms of men and machinery at every location.” 

“The Indian side has conveyed that construction will not stop, including on the DSDBO road, as it is well within the Indian boundary,” they said. Denying that any heads would roll, the sources expressed full satisfaction with the way the Leh corps commander and the northern army commander had handled the intrusions. 

In a statement of resolve, they said the Army “is fully prepared for a long and permanent deployment if the PLA does not retreat.”

Portraying a coherent Indian military-political response, the sources stated: “All three services, the chief of defence staff, the national security advisor, the defence minister and the ministry of external affairs are coordinating well amongst themselves.”
On the broader military-political perspective, the sources said: “The core issue is the undecided Line of Actual Control (LAC). Until that is solved, these episodes and issues will continue to happen.” The sources criticised the PLA’s militarisation of the border areas. “China has deployed fighter bombers, rocket forces, air defence radars, jammers, etc. India has deployed all its major assets along the LAC… just a few kilometres away from the frontline. India will continue to have major build up until China withdraws the build up (it has) done there,” said the sources. 

The sources indicated that it was proposed during the corps commanders’ meeting on Saturday that such meetings should be held “once or twice every year for better interaction between the two armies at a higher level.”

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