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NEW DELHI: India and China will discuss troop disengagement in the Depsang-Daulat Beg Oldie sector, with New Delhi also pressing for a further pullback of Chinese soldiers in the Pangong Tso and Hot Springs areas, during the fourth round of talks between the rival corps commanders in eastern Ladakh on Tuesday.
The delegations led by 14 Corps commander Lt General Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District chief Major General Liu Lin are slated to begin their dialogue on the Indian side of the Chushul-Moldo border personnel meeting point at 11.30 am on Tuesday.
The fourth round of the talks will also take up the eventual de-induction of the around 30,000 troops each amassed by the two sides, along with artillery guns, tanks and other heavy weaponry, in the “depth areas” along the 1,597-km long frontier in eastern Ladakh.
The two corps commanders will of course review the progress of Phase-I of the de-escalation plan thrashed out in the last meeting on June 30, which has witnessed bulk of the rival troops pull back 1-2.5 km from the face-off points at Galwan Valley, Gogra-Hot Springs and Pangong Tso.
There have been mounting concerns about the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) gaining the upper hand in creation of the no-patrolling zones after intruding into Indian territory, as part of its overall design to keep on pushing the Line of Actual Control (LAC) westwards.
But Indian defence officials insist the immediate priority behind the “temporary arrangement” to create the no-patrolling zones was to avoid further clashes between the rival troops. “It does not entail any loss of territory or patrolling rights. The time-lines and modalities for the next phase of de-escalation will be discussed in the meeting,” said an official.
As reported by TOI earlier, PLA troops have pulled back from the `base’ of `Finger-4’ (mountainous spur) eastwards towards ‘Finger-5’ on the north bank of Pangong Tso but are yet to fully vacate the ridge-line that dominates the area.
“This will figure in the discussions because we want the PLA to gradually pull back about 8-km back to Finger-8 (where the LAC runs north to south as per India),” said the official.
Indian soldiers have concomitantly also pulled back westwards towards their Dhan Singh Thapa post between Finger-2 and Finger-3 in consonance with the plan to disengage at the face-off site at Finger-4.
Officials acknowledge that while Galwan Valley and Gogra-Hot Springs were largely uncontested in the past, the disengagement at Pangong Tso and Depsang will be harder to resolve.
In the Depsang Plains area, a strategically-located table-top plateau to the north of Galwan, the PLA has been blocking Indian patrols going towards Patrolling Points (PPs)-10, 11, 12 and 13 after intruding deep into what India considers its territory. India, incidentally, has 65 PPs along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
“The perception of LAC at Depsang vastly differs between the two sides. India will reiterate that the usual norm should be restored there about not blocking each other’s patrols,” said the official.

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