India and China will engage in the fourth round of troop disengagement talks today. The 14 Corps Commander, Lt Gen Harinder Singh, will start talks with South Xinjiang Military District Commander Maj Gen Liu Lin at Chushul (on the Indian side of the LAC) from 11.30 am today (14 July).
The talks will focus on the Depsang-Daulat Beg Oldie sector, but India will also insist on a Chinese pullback from the Pangong Tso and Hot Springs areas. The two commanders will review the disengagement agreed on at their last meeting on 30 June.
Negotiations are expected to be harder this time as India will press for a pull back and restoration of status quo ante in the Pangong Tso and Depsang plains, where the Chinese have occupied areas falling within India’s perception of the LAC.
China’s Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) has pulled back one to 2.5 kilometers from Patrolling Point 14 (Galwan Valley), Patrolling Point 15 (Hot Springs) and Patrolling Point 17 (Gogra) last week. Four-kilometer ‘buffer zones’ have come up in these areas where patrolling from both sides have been restricted for now.
The PLA has pulled back some troops and dismantled some structures from the lower reaches of Finger 4 in Pangong Tso. But India will press for a complete pullback till Finger 8, which India considers as its territory.
The negotiations on the Depsang sector are expected to be much tougher. PLA had intruded into that sector in 2013 and since then, had held vantage points that block India’s access to several routes to Patrolling Points 10, 11, 11A, 12 and 13. India wants to put Chinese disengagement from that sector on the table.