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India Strongly Pitches For Disengagement In Depsang Plains

In its 19th round of military negotiations with China on Monday, India made a strong case for disengagement in the strategically significant Depsang Plains of eastern Ladakh and the ability to patrol local customary patrolling points (PPs).

Less than three weeks before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to India for the G-20 Summit, there were conversations.

According to sources in the defence and security establishment, India also demanded de-escalation from places where disengagement has already been carried out since the standoff started in May 2020 at the talks, which started at 9.30 am on the Indian side of the Chushul-Moldo Meeting Point in eastern Ladakh.

They added that the primary problem still at hand is to the Depsang Plains, an area of 972 square kilometres that is situated at an elevation of more than 16,400 feet and which, as ThePrint noted, existed prior to the current standoff.

Lt Gen Rashim Bali, the 14 Corps commander located in Leh, is in charge of the Indian delegation. The commander of the South Xinjiang military district was tasked with leading the Chinese delegation.

Ajit Doval, the national security adviser, made it plain to China last month that tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) have weakened strategic confidence as well as the public and political foundation of the two nations’ relationship.

The Depsang Plains and de-escalation along the LAC were again the subject of the 18th session of negotiations in April, but no progress was made.

The Depsang Plains, which are part of India’s Sub Sector North (SSN), were reportedly one of the main topics of discussion during the 19th round of negotiations. The LAC is contested here, as it is elsewhere.

The Siachen Glacier and Aksai Chin, which is under Chinese sovereignty, are located on either side of the SSN.

PPs 10, 11, 11A, 12, and 13 were once patrolled by Indian soldiers. The Chinese, however, have currently prohibited the Indians’ access to these points.

Beyond the feature known as the Bottleneck region or Y Junction, the Chinese have been obstructing Indian foot patrols.

The Indian Army has refrained from using force to advance towards its usual patrolling sites so as not to open a new front.

Indian patrols can get to the Bottleneck by car, but there are only two ways to get from there on foot. PP10 is reached by taking the north route, which follows the Raki Nala, while PP13 is reached by taking the southeast route along the Jiwan Nala.

The distance between an Indian military camp and this Chinese claim line in the Burtse region is around 1.5 km.

Chinese patrols had been unable to pass the bottleneck area due to Indian forces’ obstruction. However, in 2015, the Chinese had pushed right up to their claim line before retreating.

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