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India and China hold crucial disengagement talks, focus on Finger Area

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Senior military commanders of India and China are holding a meeting in eastern Ladakh to implement a disengagement plan along the Line of Actual Control or LAC. The meeting is being held in Moldo, on the Chinese side of the LAC.

This is the fifth attempt of both the countries to discuss disengagement since the face-off in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15. The talks are expected to focus on the critical Finger Area and the strategic Depsang plains, according to people aware of the developments.

The plan is also to discuss reducing tensions aggravated by a significant military build-up on both sides of the contested, they said. The Indian side is working on restore status quo ante (the situation as it existed in early April) along the LAC.

A mutual consensus to disengage from all friction areas along the contested LAC was reached during a marathon meeting between senior Indian and Chinese commanders at Moldo in June.

The talks that went on for nearly 11 hours were aimed at cooling tensions and thinning the military build-up on both sides of the border.

But after initial progress, the disengagement process has virtually come to a halt. While China has claimed that disengagement has been completed at most locations, New Delhi has called on Beijing to work sincerely for complete de-escalation and full restoration of peace along the LAC.

Northern Army commander Lieutenant General YK Joshi recently said that disengagement between forward deployed Indian and Chinese soldiers from friction areas along the LAC was a complex and intricate process that required diligent execution.

Joshi said disengagement was initiated after four rounds of talks between senior Indian and Chinese military commanders, and it was being verified on the ground to “ensure its veracity and correctness.”

De-escalation of the border conflict will begin after complete disengagement.

The ground situation remains unchanged in the Ladakh sector where both armies have amassed almost 100,000 soldiers in their forward and depth areas.

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