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Is China putting preconditions to Disengagement in Ladakh? India keeps a close watch on movements across LAC

Wed, 14 Apr 2021   |  Reading Time: 2 minutes

The eleventh round of Corps Commander level meeting took place at Chushul on April 09, without any decisive outcomes. Chanakyaforum.com had reported that based on the statement released by MoD, it appears that very little forward movement has taken place on the issue of disengagement at other friction points in Eastern Ladakh namely Gogra, Hot Springs and Depsang Plateau.

It has been reliably learnt now based on various media reports that China is trying to put the precondition of De-escalation of forces prior to disengagement in other areas. The difference of opinion regarding the future course of action seems to have emerged after the Chinese delegation insisted on reduction in force levels to pre April 2020 state which means that that the additional forces inducted into the sector post standoff needs to be withdrawn before disengagement. This appears to be a change in Chinese stance since February talks which may not be acceptable to India as it prefers disengagement in all sectors first.

Keeping in mind the better infrastructure on Chinese side and thus lesser time frame required for buildup should any such situation arise, de-escalation before disengagement would put India at a disadvantage from a military point of view. The trust deficit between both countries remaining  high, India would not want to take any chances while dealing with the Chinese. The leadership of both countries do not want any escalation in tensions and prefer a mutually acceptable process to defuse the crisis. The proposal of de-escalation needs to be analysed at the highest level before suggesting any further action which may happen after Army Chief returns from from Bangladesh visit.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that the Chinese surface to air missile batteries continue to remain deployed across LAC even after the Pangong Tso disengagement is complete. These air defence batteries are said to be in similar category of Russian S300 Air Defence systems with ranges upto 250km. Indian Army is keeping a close watch on the deployments across LAC including the assets in airfields like Hotan and Kashgar. While there has been a mixed reaction from Indian strategic community on withdrawal from Kailash ranges, preconditional de-escalation will draw sharp criticism under current circumstances.



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