2020-06-25 12:22:00
China

NEW DELHI: Indian Army chief Manoj Mukund Naravane is expected to brief Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday following his two-day visit to the border with China where tensions are still said to be high despite two rounds of talks at the military and diplomatic levels earlier this week.

A person familiar with the matter said that India had increased troops at Depsang to the north of Galwan, the scene of a violent face-off between India and China on 15 June in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. But the person did not comment on whether another intrusion had been detected in the area as per news reports on Thursday which said there was a new Chinese ingress into Indian territory at Depsang, the scene of a faceoff in 2013.

Naravane had arrived in Leh, the headquarters of the 14 Corps of the Indian army on Tuesday, a day after Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, head of the 14 Corps held talks with Major General Liu Lin, commander of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in South Xinjiang region, at Moldo on the Chinese side of the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC). After 11 hours of talks, the two sides had arrived at a “mutual consensus to disengage.” On Wednesday, Naravane visited forward areas and interacted with troops stationed at the border. India has sent in reinforcements to strengthen vigil across the LAC, including 23 points, seen as particularly disputed by both countries. The situation in Ladakh where most of the intrusions have been reported since May remains tense but there has been no report of any violent incidents again.

At a meeting between diplomats also on Wednesday, India and China agreed to keep diplomatic and military lines of communication open to reduce chances of another flare-up, but were seen to be making slow progress toward drawing up a fresh blueprint for engagement. While the two countries decided to continue talks to resolve the border standoff, differences between them, it appeared, were yet to be bridged. The Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs, headed by the senior diplomats of the two countries, discussed the tensions via videolink.

But the talks coincided with satellite pictures of the Galwan clash site between the troops of the two cited dated 22 June and put out by Twitter handle @detresfa that showed a major build-up of Chinese troops since the 15 June clash. A report by ANI news agency also said a Chinese post, which was seen as the spark for the 15 June clash, had come up again at the site. There was no official confirmation from the Indian defence ministry of the Chinese positions as revealed by the satellite pictures.

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