Focus on Hot Springs, Gogra, Depsang in Round 10 pullback talks with China

The Corps Commander-level talks was held at the Moldo border point on the Chinese side of the LAC

Ladakh, Army, India, China

The Round 10 talks between Indian and Chinese military commanders went on for 16 hours on Saturday, during which they discussed withdrawal of troops from friction points at Hot Springs, Gogra Post and Depsang Plains in Ladakh after complete disengagement in the Pangong Tso area.

The Corps Commander-level talks was held at the Moldo border point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). It began around 10 am on Saturday and ended at 2 am on Sunday, said sources.

The talks took place two days after both militaries concluded withdrawal of troops from the north and south banks of Pangong Tso. The Indian side was led by 14 Corps Commander Lt General PGK Menon while the Chinese were led by Major General Liu Lin.

There has been no official word on the Round 10 talks so far. However, it is learnt that India has insisted on a faster disengagement process in Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang to bring down tension in the region.

On Saturday evening, sources had said that bringing down the tension in the region was the broad priority of the talks. India has all along been maintaining that disengagement at all the friction points was necessary to de-escalate the situation in the region.

Troops of the two nations are still amid a faceoff in Hot Springs and Gogra Post, where the Chinese were reluctant to carry out disengagement last July. In Depsang, the Chinese are blocking a place, preventing Indian soldiers from accessing its traditional patrolling points.

The Indian side has also reportedly raised the subject of grazing rights of residents of the Demchok area, during Saturday’s talks.

The talks came two days after disengagement concluded at Pangong Tso’s north and south banks, which is in line with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s February 11 announcement in the Parliament that the next meeting would be convened within 48 hours of completion of the disengagement process in the Pangong Lake areas.

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Singh had then announced that India and China reached an agreement on disengagement in the North and South banks of Pangong lake that mandates both sides to “cease” forward deployment of troops in a “phased, coordinated and verifiable” manner.

Under the agreement, he said China will pull back its troops to east of Finger 8 areas in the northern bank and Indian personnel will be based at their permanent base at Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3. Similar action would take place on south bank as well, he said.

Sources said troops of both sides have retreated to positions in line with the agreement. The disengagement process began on February 10.

The border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5 following a violent clash in Pangong lake areas and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry even as the two sides continued military and diplomatic talks.

(With inputs from agencies)