India and China on Saturday held the tenth round of commander-level talks, focusing on taking the disengagement process forward in eastern Ladakh and bringing down the tension in the region, reported the Hindustan Times, citing unidentified officials. The meeting began at 10 am in Moldo on the Chinese side.
As was agreed upon earlier, the meeting took place within 48 hours of the two sides completing disengagement on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh. The disengagement process along the Pangong Tso began on February 10, with tanks and mechanised columns being pulled back from the south bank of the lake.
In the meeting, the military commanders were expected to discuss pulling back their respective troops from other friction areas, like the Gogra and Hot Springs. Some troops have pulled back at the patrolling points 15 and 17A in these two sites. However, this process stopped after the developments on the south bank of the lake at the end of August.
The talks between Indian and Chinese military had begun in June last year after clashes between soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. However, a breakthrough could be sealed on earlier this month after Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed the Parliament that the two countries will remove deployments along the Pangong Tso lake in a phased and coordinated manner.
“The Chinese side will keep its troop presence in the North Bank area to east of Finger 8. Reciprocally, the Indian troops will be based at their permanent base at Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3,” he had said.
Tensions between the two countries flared up in June 2020 after deadly clashes between soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed.
China on Friday for the first time named four soldiers who died, and another, who was injured, during the clash with Indian troops in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley in June. This came eight months after China refused to disclose details of casualties in the deadly brawl with India.
The standoff has persisted with both sides bolstering forces along the border. Both India and China have accused each other of crossing into rival territory and of firing shots for the first time there in 45 years. The ninth round of Corps Commander-level talks took place on January 24.