India Asks China For Faster Disengagement In Gogra, Hot Springs & Demchok
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India Asks China For Faster Disengagement In Gogra, Hot Springs & Demchok

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The dialogue, which included additional secretary (East Asia) Naveen Srivastava from the external affairs ministry in the Indian delegation, began at 10am and went on till 2 am. The major trouble-spot remains the strategically-located Depsang Plains, the table-top plateau located at 16,000-feet, which has been “a source of constant friction” since at least 2013

NEW DELHI: India on Saturday asked China for faster disengagement at Gogra, Hot Springs and Demchok areas, while asserting the need for Chinese soldiers to stop blocking Indian patrols in Depsang Plains to de-escalate the overall tensions in eastern Ladakh.

There was no official word on the outcome of the tenth round of corps commander-level talks, led by 14 Corps commander Lt-General P G K Menon and South Xinjiang Military District chief Major General Liu Lin, on the Chinese side of the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on Saturday.

The dialogue, which included additional secretary (East Asia) Naveen Srivastava from the external affairs ministry in the Indian delegation, began at 10am and went on till 2am.

Sources, however, said there were “no differences as such” between India and China in “completing” the stalled disengagement at patrolling points (PPs) 15 and 17A in the Hot Springs-Gogra-Kongka La area.

“There are only a handful of troops from both sides in the forward locations there, and they too are not in close proximity to each other. After disengagement on both sides of Pangong Tso, which was far more tough, it should happen faster at PPs 15 and 17A,” said a source.

Similarly, the “friction” at the Charding Ninglung Nallah (CNN) track junction in the Demchok sector, which arose after the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) pitched some tents while also denying grazing rights to Indian villagers there, should be relatively easier to resolve, said sources.

The major trouble-spot remains the strategically-located Depsang Plains or `Bulge’ area, the table-top plateau located at 16,000-feet, which has been “a source of constant friction” since at least 2013.

While the region provides India access to the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) airstrip and the critical Karakoram Pass in the north, it is also close to China’s Western Highway G-219, which connects the Tibetan Autonomous Region to Xinjiang.

After the face-offs erupted in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley and Gogra-Hot Springs areas in May last year, both sides had also amassed additional infantry battalions as well as mechanized forces in the shape of tanks and infantry combat vehicles in their “depth areas” of the Depsang region.

The PLA has been consistently blocking Indian soldiers from going beyond the `Bottleneck’ or `Y-junction’ area in Depsang, which is around 18-km inside what India perceives to be its territory, to their traditional PPs-10, 11, 11A, 12, and 13, as was earlier reported by TOI.

Both India and China have vastly overlapping claims in the Depsang area, with the latter claiming as much as 972 square km of territory. The last major troop face-off at Depsang had taken place in April-May 2013, when the PLA had intruded 19-km across the LAC to camp at the Raki Nalla area. Though the then face-off was resolved after 21 days, the tensions have prevailed in the region ever since.

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