India is considering a Chinese proposal for talks at the Division Commander level on pullback of troops from other areas of eastern Ladakh, four months after opposing troops disengaged in Pangong Tso, media reports said.
The Chinese suggestion comes amid a stalemate over the disengagement process. The Corps Commander-level talks on April 9 made no progress.
Division Commander-level talks have teams led by officers of the rank of Major-General. In the Corps Commander-level talks, more senior officers — Lt Generals who head corps or equivalent formations – are involved.
June 15 will mark a year of the Galwan Valley clash in which 20 Indian Army personnel died in clashes with PLA troops. There are various accounts of casualties on the Chinese side – American and Russian sources cited around 40 casualties, while China belatedly admitted to the loss of only four PLA personnel.
A senior defence officer quoted by The Indian Express said China has conveyed to India that negotiations for disengagement at Hot Springs and Gogra Post — at both places, small contingents of Chinese troops are on the Indian side of the Line of actual Control — can be discussed by Division Commanders. India, the officer said, is considering the idea. He said China has conveyed this to India through different levels, including hotline talks on the ground, the I.E. report said.
The officer said if talks between Division Commanders can find a solution, then senior commanders may not need to meet again. He said though there has been no progress since troops from the two sides stepped back from the Pangong Tso region, China has not refused to disengage from other friction points. Yet it has also not agreed on a plan to disengage from the other points.
Army Chief General M M Naravane recently said that negotiations take time, citing the 1986 Sumdorong Chu standoff near Tawang which took eight years to be resolved.
Indian and Chinese Corps Commanders have held 11 rounds of discussions to resolve the military standoff in eastern Ladakh that began in May 2020.
In February, Indian and Chinese troops and armour disengaged from the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and the Kailash ranges. While the commanders met immediately after the disengagement, there was no agreement on pulling back troops from the other friction points.
They met again on April 9, but the talks did not result in any agreement.