BY SUMIT KUMAR SINGH
New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) The fifth round of talks between the Indian and Chinese military representatives to discuss disengagements are set to take place on Sunday in Moldo, even as Beijing has started troop and materiel build-up in depth areas across the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The Chinese side has started troop, artillery and armour build-up in three sectors of the LAC — western (Ladakh), middle (Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal).
China has also mobilised soldiers near Uttarakhand’s Lipulekh Pass, a tri-junction between India, Nepal and China situated atop the Kalapani Valley.
The fifth round of Corps Commander level talks between the 14 Corps commander Lt General Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District chief Major General Liu Lin will begin at 11 a.m.
They will deliberate on the prevailing situation in Pangong Lake and Gogra where disengagement has not taken place.
At Pangong Lake, China has strengthened their positions between Finger-5 and 8 and India is to take up this move very strongly.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is refusing to pull back eastwards from the 8-km stretch it has occupied from Finger-4 to Finger-8 by building scores of new fortifications there since early May.
The mountain spurs jutting into the lake are referred to as Fingers in military parlance.
The Chinese troops are also in Depsang which continues to block Indian soldiers from going to their traditional patrolling in the region.
The Depsang Plains, a table-top plateau to the north of Galwan, remains a major hotspot due to its strategic location providing access to the logistical hub and airstrip at Daulat Beg Oldie and the critical Karakoram Pass in the north.
Since the PLA troops are not moving back as per consensus, the Indian Army has kicked off the massive logistical exercise for advance winter stocking with rations, specialised clothing, prefabricated shelters, Arctic tents and other equipment to maintain.
India has deployed over 35,000 troops in Ladakh.
China is not complying with the roadmap for a complete pullback that was drawn out during the Corps Commander level meet on July 14.
Till now two rounds of deliberations have taken at Moldo (China) and two in Chushul (India).
The countries are locked in a three-month-long stand-off at multiple points, hitherto unprecedented along the border.
China had changed the status quo on the LAC at various places, moving inside the Indian territories. India has objected to it and is taking up the matter with China at all levels.
The troop disengagement happened only at patrolling point-14 in Galwan Valley, the site of the June 15 clashes, and patrolling point-15 in Hot Springs.
On June 15, as many as 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed in a violent clash in the Galwan Valley.
(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)