Ladakh standoff: Sixth Corps Commander-level talks being held as India boosts combat readiness
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New Delhi and Beijing are scheduled to hold their sixth Corps Commander-level talks on Monday at the Chinese side of the Chushul/Moldo meeting point in the eastern Ladakh sector to address the ongoing military standoff.

According to sources, Naveen Srivastava, Joint Secretary (East Asia) of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), will also attend the Commanders’ Conference.

The agenda and issues to be raised by the Indian side in the meeting were discussed and finalised during a high-level meeting attended by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane last week. India is likely to press for simultaneous disengagement and de-escalation by the Chinese side in Ladakh.

The high-power China Study Group (CSG) met on Friday and carried out a comprehensive review of the overall situation in eastern Ladakh including India’s operational preparedness in view of the continued belligerence by the Chinese army and its fresh attempts to “intimidate” Indian troops in the region.

At a nearly 90-minute meeting of the group, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs also looked at further enhancing the vigil along the nearly 3,500-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC), including in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim sectors, sources told PTI.

The ground commanders have been holding talks on an almost daily basis on the ground. The talks are happening at a time when the Indian side has also occupied six major hill features which are helping the Indian Army to be in dominating positions on the heights.

Meanwhile, Indian Air Force (IAF) Rafale jets have conducted some “familiarisation sorties” around the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in a bid to keep regular surveillance over the movement of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Also read | Decoding Chinese strategic intent in prolonged standoff at LAC

According to a report published in The Times of India, the five Rafales, which were formally inducted into service at the Ambala airbase on September 10, have conducted some “familiarisation sorties” in Ladakh in recent days.

The IAF is overall boosting the combat readiness in view of “provocative actions” by Chinese troops including the three incidents of shots being fired in the air in the last three weeks.

News agency ANI has reported that six new major hill features have been occupied by the Indian Army along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) over the past three weeks.

This has allowed our troops to have an edge over the Chinese troops in those areas. These hill features, the sources said, were lying dormant.

Also read | India occupies six new major heights along LAC, Rafales conduct ‘familiarisation sorties’

The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated after China unsuccessfully attempted to occupy Indian territory in the southern bank of Pangong lake on the intervening night of August 29 and 30.

India occupied a number of strategic heights on the southern bank of Pangong lake and strengthened its presence in Finger 2 and Finger 3 areas in the region to thwart any Chinese actions. China has been occupying the areas between Finger 4 and Finger 8. The mountain spurs in the area is called Fingers.

China has strongly objected to India’s move. However, India has maintained that the heights are on its side of the LAC.

India has also rushed in additional troops and weapons to the sensitive region following China’s transgression attempts.

Following China’s fresh attempts to change the status quo in the southern bank of Pangong lake, India has further bolstered its military presence in the region. 

(with inputs from agencies)

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