India, China ‘agree to disengage’ but skepticism persists


Indian government sources Tuesday told IANS that after corps commander-level talks between India and China, which lasted over 11 hours, there was a “mutual consensus to disengage”.

The corps commanders of two countries’ militaries met at Moldo Monday to resolve the border issue and ease tension in eastern Ladakh. This is the second such meeting after the first one June 6.

The meeting between 14 Corps commander Lieutenant General Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District chief Major General Liu Lin happened on the lines of the one they held at the Chushul-Moldo border personnel meeting point in eastern Ladakh June 6.

“Modalities for disengagement from all friction areas in Eastern Ladakh were discussed,” government sources said, adding that the dialogue was held in a cordial, positive and constructive atmosphere.

However, doubts persisted among many strategic affairs experts.

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting — Sun Tzu. If India has agreed with China to mutually withdraw forces while China holds on to its new territorial grabs in the Galwan Valley and at Lake Pangong, it will mean a victory for the foe in Sun Tzu style,” veteran Indian strategic thinker Brahma Chellaney tweeted Tuesday, attaching a news report about the agreement to disengage.

Sushant Singh, deputy editor at The Indian Express and a strategic affairs expert, seemed to imply the real picture was not what was being portrayed.

Singh tweeted: “[Corrected] Chinese MFA briefing: Q: The Indian army said that two side agreed to disengage the troops. Can you confirm that? A: The specific measures are under discussion by the border troops of the two sides on the ground. I have no further information to release on this.”

Before Monday’s military dialogue, Major General-level talks took place for three consecutive days after the barbaric attack at patrolling point 14 in Galwan Valley on June 15 night where 20 Indian soldiers were killed. The three talks were to ease out the tense situation and to get released 10 Indian soldiers, including four officers, who were in Chinese captivity.

Major General Abhijit Bapat, who is the Commander of the 3 Division of the Indian Army, had raised several points with the Chinese with regard to the incident on the night intervening June 15-16.

The clash occurred at the South bank of Galwan river, which flows in an east-west direction before its confluence with Shayok river.

These were the first deaths faced by Indian Army in a clash with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army since 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Indian Army said the soldiers went to the spot where the clashes happened without any animosity and were displaying friendly gestures to the Chinese side when they were there to check if the de-escalation agreement was being followed as promised.

Several Indian Army soldiers are currently injured and are undergoing treatment.

ALSO SEE: Justice Markandey Katju: What is happening in Ladakh?

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