A minor cool-off, but LAC’s still hot; De-escalation, if at all, by winter

Maxar WorldView-3 satellite image shows close up view of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) border and patrol point 14 in the eastern Ladakh sector of Galwan Valley (Reuters)

NEW DELHI: There has been a slight reduction of troops at the four friction zones on the Line of Actual Control but there is no let up in concentration and mobilisation of forces by India and China.
The lengthy discussion between top Indian and Chinese military commanders held earlier this week is expected to continue and seek to define the disengagement process in greater detail. In the light of the June 15 Galwan Valley clash, the Indian side has sought more specific measures to establish de-escalation at a particular area.
The discussions, despite their “positive” trajectory, are expected to be a long haul and the entire process of disengagement, if it comes along, may well stretch into the winter, sources said.
The confrontation has acquired a high profile internationally and the Chinese leadership would be wary of a de-escalation that is read as a ceding of ground to Indian pressure. The Indian government is determined that there will be no compromise on territory and that PLA will need to pull back from the LAC into its areas of influence.
It was pointed out that while Chinese forces have pitched in at the ‘Finger 4-8’ area at Pangong Tso, the patrol routes have become more contentious in recent years. Earlier, lack of infrastructure on the Indian side gave Chinese forces considerable leeway in movement.


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