Next on table in India-China talks: Pullback from Gogra, Hot Springs

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 29

India and China are set to “pick up the threads” of the unfinished agenda of disengagement and de-escalation along the LAC in eastern Ladakh even as Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has been briefed about what is now a near-permanent military posture in the area.

His three-day visit to Ladakh (June 27-29) had come a day after the virtual meeting of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs on June 25. It was decided to conduct discussions on disengagement and de-escalation of troops, weapons and equipment from Gogra and Hot Springs, two flashpoints along the LAC.

China does not want to bring the troop build-up in Depsang Plains into the forthcoming talks. The Indian Army holds a majority of the Depsang Plains, while the PLA holds the eastern edge of the plains. A section of the government is confident of forward movement in the next round (twelfth) of India-China military dialogue, the date of which has not yet been finalised.

Over a year after the standoff began, talks on disengagement at Gogra, Hot Springs and Depsang have made no headway. The MEA has been circumspect, but after the February 22 meeting of military commanders it was indicated that disengagement from these flashpoints would be discussed, but it didn’t happen.

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