As several sticking points remain, India preps for a long haul at Ladakh border

India

oi-Vicky Nanjappa

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New Delhi, Aug 01: The Indian Army would be looking to enhance deployment on the Ladakh border until total disengagement by the Indian and Chinese armies takes place.

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While the Chinese have claimed that disengagement has taken place along the disputed border, India clarified that the same has not taken place at both Pangong Tso and Gogra.

India has been seeking restoration of status quo ante as of April. The additional deployment of 35,000 soldiers in Ladakh is directly linked to the restoration of status quo ante.

India says that the restoration of status quo ante would include reduction of troops, removal of new infrastructure constructed by the Chinese in the contentious zones and also restoration of patrolling rights.

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A lot would however depend on the outcome of the fifth round of military commander talks between the two sides. While all eyes would be on the talks, India has prepared for a long haul.

The next round of talks is expected in a couple of days, sources have told OneIndia while adding that the ground work is being laid for the same. The talks were initially planned over the weekend, but an official word on the same is still awaited.

Sources said that on the disengagement, there has not been positive movement on the ground for at least 15 days now.

On Chinas claim that disengagement had taken place, sources said that the statement is incorrect.

Earlier, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin had made the claim at a briefing in Beijing when he was asked whether the border troops from India and China have completed the disengagement from Galwan, Gogra and Hot Spring areas in eastern Ladakh. The reference to Pangong Tso, a major friction point, was conspicuously absent in the question asked by a reporter from Chinas official media.

During the briefing, the spokesman noted that China and India have recently conducted "intensive communication through military and diplomatic channels."

"Now the frontline border troops have completed disengagement in most locations and the situation on the ground is easing," Wang said.

At the briefing, Wang said, "We have held four rounds of commander level talks and three meetings of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC)."

"Now we are preparing for the fifth round of commander level talks to study the settlement of the remaining issue. We hope India will work with China to implement our consensus and uphold peace and stability along our border areas," he added.

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