July 2020 News

Beijing Dithers On Honouring Pullback Deal, Talks Hit Bump

20 July 2020
The Tribune
Ajay Banerjee

New Delhi: The India-China talks on military de-escalation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) have hit a minor roadblock. New Delhi wants Beijing to fully adhere to the agreement on creating a physical buffer zone and going back from certain gray areas, before any progress can be made. A fresh physical verification of the buffer zone will be made as the previous one showed a partial pullback by China, unlike what was agreed upon at the meetings of the top military commanders. The two sides had to move back 1.5 km on each side of the approximate LAC, which has not happened. Sources say a meeting of the Lieutenant General-level commanders is possible only after some movement on the ground is visible. There are at least two points where the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has not created a buffer. At PP 17-A (Gogra), the gap between the two armies is not complete. It is narrower than the ideal 1.5 km on each side. At Finger 4 on the north bank of Pangong Tso, a 135-km glacial lake, not much has changed. The PLA is sitting on the ridgeline of a mountain spur. Eight spurs of the Chang Chenmo range end on the north bank of the lake. Each spur or ridgeline is identified as 'finger' in military parlance. India assumes the LAC to be at Finger 8, which is to the east of Finger 4. India was patrolling till Finger 8 but the Chinese are not allowing patrols to pass now. On July 10, the PLA had moved away its boats and thinned out troops, but its troops still occupy the ridgeline. India wants the PLA to move back till Finger 8.