New Delhi: Top army sources in India sought to portray a rapidly improving situation three days after Indian and Chinese military commanders met on Saturday at Chushul, in Ladakh, to deliberate over the crisis caused by the occupation by thousands of Chinese soldiers of territory conventionally guarded by both armies.
Ajay Shukla wrote for The Wire quoting army sources who claimed that both sides “retreated a bit” after the Saturday meeting.
“The sources on the ground, however, point out to Chinese inflexibility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). During the talks, the PLA panellists categorically rejected the Indian demand for Chinese troops to restore the status quo that prevailed in April and withdraw from areas occupied by them in May,” he wrote.
During the military-to-military dialogue on Saturday, China reportedly refused to even discuss its intrusions into the Galwan River valley, instead claiming ownership over the entire area.
Underlining these sharp divergences between the Indian and Chinese positions, no joint statement was released after Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, the Leh corps commander, met PLA Major General Liu Lin, who heads the South Xinjiang Military Region in a bid to neutralise the confrontation.
New Delhi has not released any details about the military discussions.
Only on Tuesday, after being severely criticised by opposition members, including Rahul Gandhi of the Congress Party, did “top army sources” present the media with the military’s version of events.
According to their version, the Indian and Chinese corps commanders met one-on-one for almost three hours before engaging further during delegate-level talks. The two sides “mutually agreed and identified five locations of conflicts” between PLA and Indian troops. These include Patrolling Point 14 (PP14), PP15, PP17, the north bank of Pangong Tso Lake and Chushul.
The fact that these conflict locations make no mention of the Galwan River valley lends credence to the argument that the sector did not feature on the discussion agenda.
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