Resolution of India-China LAC dispute unlikely at today’s military level meet

New Delhi/June, 5: India and China may be in for a long haul of military posturing along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. Beijing looks adamant on altering the existing perception of the LAC, said a media report ahead of the military level meeting between the two countries over the military stand off in eastern Ladakh . So far,China, according to the report, has not indicated possibilities to allow the framework of agreements to work on the ground.

The only outcome possible is to agree to no escalation, a resolution is not a possible outcome of the meeting. — Senior functionary

Sources, who are in the know of things, said indications were that China might not pull back from ‘Finger 4’ at the north bank of Pangong Tso (a 135-km glacial melt lake). The two sides have three major flashpoints along the 826-km LAC in Ladakh — Pangong Tso, Galwan valley and Gogra. The LAC is not delineated or demarcated. Even the disputed areas are not marked.

Commander of Leh-based 14 Corps Lt Gen Harinder Singh will head out to meet his counterpart, China’s Southern Xinjiang Military District Commander, for a meeting at 8.30 am at the designated meeting point, Chushul-Moldo, a 200-km road journey south-east of Leh.

“The only outcome possible is to agree to no escalation, a resolution is not a possible outcome of the meeting. A resolution will have to be worked out between diplomats in New Delhi and Beijing,” a senior functionary said. Middle-level diplomats of both sides spoke via video-conference and agreed that the two sides should handle their differences through peaceful discussions and not allow irritants to become disputes.

Naveen Srivastava, Joint Secretary (East Asia), MEA, and Wu Jianghao, Director-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China, agreed that a solution should be in accordance with the guidance provided by the leadership of both countries.

Any resolution would require restoration of status quo ante along the LAC in Ladakh; reduction in guns, tanks and troops which China has amassed; unimpeded Indian patrolling in disputed areas and road construction on the Indian side as well as strict adherence to the policies, protocols and agreements since 1993 to maintain peace along the LAC. India has already made it clear to China that road constriction is well within its territory and China has no business objecting to it.

The problem will be at Pangong Tso. The mountain spurs of the Chang Chenmo are numbered as ‘Fingers’, starting from 1 to 8 (west to east direction), covering 25-27 km of the lake’s north bank. According to India, the LAC runs on a north to south axis along a mountain spur numbered ‘Finger 8’ . China says the LAC runs through ‘Finger 2’. On May 5 and 6 this year, there were skirmishes similar to those in August 2017.

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