De-escalation at Line of Actual Control (LAC) has proceeded to the next stage with the 13th round of Army commander-level talks scheduled in the second week of October, informed Army chief Gen MM Naravane. The previous round of talks was held in July, seeking disengagement at Gogra Heights & Hot Springs area. Talking to ANI, the Army chief said that the situation along LAC has been quite normal for the past six months. Gen Naravane was at Leh where Ladakh Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur inaugurated the World's largest Khadi national flag installed in Leh town.
"The situation over last 6 months has been quite normal. We're hopeful of having the 13th round of talks in the second week of October and reach a consensus on how disengagement will take place. By and by all friction points will get resolved. I am of the firm opinion that we can resolve our differences through dialogue. I am hopeful we will be able to achieve results," said Naravane.
Talking about China's infrastructure buildup along the border, he said, "Chinese have deployed in considerable numbers all across Eastern Ladakh & Northern front right up to our Eastern command. Definitely, there has been an increase in their deployment in the forward areas which remains a matter of concern for us. We're regularly monitoring all their movements. Based on inputs we get, we're also carrying out matching developments".
As the Taliban reaches out to MEA officials, the Army chief said that the forces were on the lookout. "We are regularly monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and its possible ramifications and fallouts. It's too early to say exactly what form it will take. But we are on the lookout," said Naravane.
On July 14, Jaishankar met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meeting. Recalling their earlier meeting in September 2020, the EAM stressed the need to follow through on the agreement reached then and finish the disengagement at the earliest. Maintaining that prolongation of the existing situation was not in the interest of either side, he admitted that it has had a negative impact on the bilateral relationship. As per the MEA, Jaishankar clearly told Wang that unilateral change in the status quo is not acceptable.
The two countries' foreign ministers have reached a five-point consensus on continuing dialogue and quickly disengage, while honouring all existing agreements and protocol on China-India boundary affairs. Over 12 rounds of military talks, the Chinese People's Liberation Army has retreated from the Finger 4 area and Patrol point 14 along the LAC, while India pre-empted PLA activity on the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso Lake capturing positions of 'strategic importance' in the Fingers area. The disengagement is yet to be completed in friction points such as Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang. 20 jawans were martyred on June 5-6 amid a violent face-off between Indo-China troops at LAC's Galwan Valley.