दुनियाराष्ट्रीय

Ladakh was the starting point. India-China ties are getting complicated

Eight months to this date, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launched aggression on Indian Army troopers at the finger four mountainous spur on the north banks of Pangong Tso and tried to unilaterally change the alignment of the 1,597-kilometre Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. It was premeditated. The soldiers had exchanged blows, threw stones at each other and attacked Indian soldiers with nail-studded clubs. But the PLA aggressors had been ready, wearing helmets and thickly-padded anti-riot uniforms.

The PLA then expanded the aggression horizontally, creating friction points at Galwan Valley and Gogra-Hot Springs near Kongka La. The conflict flared up on June 15 at Patrolling Point 14 in Galwan Valley but the Indian Army led by Col Santosh Babu responded in kind to Chinese aggression. Patrolling point 14 is among the 65 patrolling points identified back in 1976 as the patrolling limits for the Indian troopers on the Ladakh LAC.

On August 29-30, the Indian Army pre-empted a PLA military manoeuvre on the south banks of Pangong Tso and occupied the heights on the Rezang La-Rechin La ridgeline, which dominate the Chinese Moldo garrison in Chushul sector. The PLA tried to retaliate but the Indian Army was able to convey its seriousness by a counter move.

Eight months down the line with both Indian Army and the PLA locked up in a military stand-off and eight rounds of military talks at the senior commander level completed, the negotiations between the two sides are still work in progress.

“While the dates for the ninth round of military talks are still to be decided, we are in no hurry as the Chinese side is yet to get back with certain clarifications towards disengagement and de-escalation on ground. We are prepared for a long haul but the ultimate objective is to get the heavy armour of both armies back to bases,” said a senior official.

While both armies are working out various permutations and combinations to disengage from the north banks of Pangong Tso, Hindustan Times has learnt that the solution, if and when it comes to fruition, will answer the concerns of both sides and lead to a rollback of the PLA’s May 2020 aggression.

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