India-China Border Standoff In Eastern Ladakh Unlikely To End Anytime Soon Despite Continued Negotiations

The India-China border standoff in Eastern Ladakh is unlikely to end anytime soon. In their latest round of discussion, Chinese commanders made a proposal of moving back from the critical eight critical border points, which was reportedly rejected by India. 

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The proposal by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) suggested moving back from Finger 1 to 8, half of which were in India’s control before Chinese troops entered on May 5, violating the 30 years’ agreement to maintain peace along the de facto border — the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The PLA proposed to make the whole area a no-activity buffer zone, Hindustan Times reported.

The report stated, quoting an Indian official, that New Delhi has rejected the proposal, as accepting it would mean “rewarding China for its transgressions.” The Indian side has reiterated its position time and again that it wants to restore the status quo as of April 2020. 

India and China have been standing eye to eye along the LAC in Ladakh for over seven months now. Tensions have been escalating after the troops from both sides got into a brutal clash in June that resulted in 20 Indian casualties and an unconfirmed number on the other side. 

The disengagement process has been underway with both sides taking part in military-level talks, however, little progress has been made since it began. In addition, surviving the snowy winter in this region is itself a bigger challenge. The two armies have ramped up their preparedness for the winter months by stocking up on food, supplies, and clothing.

Indian Army chief, General MM Naravane, visited the troops deployed at the flashpoint in Eastern Ladakh on a one-day tour on Wednesday. He reviewed the security situation in the region. He visited Rechin La and Rezang La to review the preparedness and met Lt Gen PGK Menon, the commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps. 

General Naravane urged all ranks to continue working with the same zeal and enthusiasm. He also distributed sweets and cakes for Christmas celebrations.

Rezang La and Rechin La are the same heights that the Indian Army captured in a pre-empted operation in August. As reported earlier by EurAsian Times, the Indian Army has said that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had been conducting “provocative” actions at the contested area of Pangong Tso, on the intervening night of August 29-30.

Describing the incident, Colonel Aman Anand (PRO, Indian Army) said, “Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity on the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake, undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on the ground.”

The Indian Army managed to capture six critical heights include the Magar hill, Gurung Hill, Recehen La, Rezang La, Mokhpari, and the dominating height over Chinese positions near Finger 4, news agency ANI reported.

In the last six months, the Chinese PLA has refused to back down but has proposed that both sides should withdraw together. India has reiterated its position that since China started the transgression, it should be the one to back down first. The lack of trust between the two is quite evident with Indian Foreign Minister, S Jaishankar, recently stating the “most difficult phase” in the last three-four decades between the two neighbors.

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