Chinese Still Dug In; India Briefs U.S., Major Nations

No pullback of Chinese troops, material from Pangong Lake, Depsang. (IANS Infographics)

New Delhi: The Indian military sees no pullback of Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops and materiel from Pangong Lake and Depsang in eastern Ladakh, government sources said.

The disengagement of Indian and Chinese troops has happened in Galwan valley, Hot Springs and Gogra post in Ladakh sector. However, it has not been verified on the ground yet.

Meanwhile, Indian government officials have been diplomatically engaging with other countries about the tension on the IndiaChina border. Major countries with whom talks were held include the UK, Germany, France, Canada, the US, Japan and Australia. In Ottawa, the Canadian foreign ministry said,”Minister Champagne and High Commissioner Bisaria discussed several issues of mutual concern. Minister Champagne and High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria looked forward to continuing to work together to strengthen the CanadaIndia relationship.”

Japan this week hit out at China, saying that it opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in Ladakh. Tokyo also announced that it was revising legislation allowing it to share defence intelligence with India.

In Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “India has done its best to respond
to China’s confrontation and the world must unite to act on Beijing’s pattern of aggressive behaviour seen in Ladakh, Bhutan and around Asia.”

Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale discussed the “ongoing threats to the rules-based international order”
On the India China border, troops have begun disengaging in some areas. The disengagement started after a two-month military standoff and it is happening “as per agreed terms in the Corps Commanders’ meeting”.

Sources said Chinese soldiers were seen removing tents and structures at patrolling point
14 in the Galwan valley where on June 15 Indian and PLA soldiers were engaged in brutal hand-to-hand fighting. A total of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed in the worst clash between the two armies in four decades. As per the agreement between the Corps Commanders, a buffer zone of at least 1.5 km on both sides of the Line of Actual Control has to be created in these areas.

Sources said that in Galwan valley, the water level of the Galwan river has risen suddenly due to melting of snow, which could have forced the Chinese to move from the area faster. The Indian Army is reported to be using drones to verify Chinese movement as physical
verification has been hindered by the rising waters of the Galwan river. But at Finger 4 of Pangong lake, the most contentious issue between the two sides, sources said there was almost negligible pullback of Chinese troops with a similar situation at Depsang.

At Pangong Lake, Chinese troops have moved upto Finger 4 where they have brought over 120 vehicles and a dozen boats. The Chinese army has also opened up a new front in the area near the Depsang Bulge, a table-top plateau north of Galwan. They have built camps and deployed vehicles and troops. The Pangong Lake is divided into 8 fingers. The mountainous spurs jutting out into the lake are referred to as fingers. India has been claiming fingers 1 to 8. There is also an Indian post near Finger 4. India claims the entire stretch till Finger 8. The area between Finger 5 and 8 has been a matter of dispute as China also claims it