India-China To Hold Fourth Corps Commander-Level Meeting Today. Here’s What Will Be On The Agenda

by Swarajya Staff - Jul 14, 2020 09:35 AM +05:30 IST
India-China To Hold Fourth Corps Commander-Level Meeting Today. Here’s What Will Be On The AgendaPangong Tso, Ladakh
Snapshot
  • The meeting will take place at the Chushul-Moldo border personnel meeting point, and comes after the one held on 30 June.

India and China will hold the fourth Corps Commander-level meeting On Tuesday (14 July) to discuss the ongoing disengagement at friction points — Galwan River Valley, Gogra-Hot Springs area and Pangong Tso — in eastern Ladakh.

While the Indian side will be led by 14 Corps Commander Lt General Harinder Singh, the Chinese side will be represented by Major General Lin Liu, Commander of the South Xinjiang Military District.The meeting will take place at the Chushul-Moldo border personnel meeting point, and comes after the one held on 30 June.

With significant disengagement in the Galwan Valley and the Hot Springs area already under way, the two sides are likely to shift attention towards the situation in the Finger area on the northern bank of the Pangong Lake.

Since the last military-level talks between the two sides, China has withdrawn some troops from the Finger area. Latest satellite images of the area, posted on Twitter by open source intelligence handle @detresfa_, show that Chinese earthwork equipment and structures near Finger 4, called Foxhole Point, also appears to have been withdrawn.

(@detresfa_/Twitter)
(@detresfa_/Twitter)

Although there has been some withdrawal by China from the areas the People’s Liberation Army occupied on the northern bank of Pangong Tso in early May, much of the Chinese buildup in the Finger area is still in place.

North of the Pangong Lake lies the Chang Chenmo range. Spurs which jut out from this range, running mostly perpendicular towards the northern bank of the Pangong Lake, are called ‘fingers’ by the Indian Army.

These fingers are labelled 1 to 8 in a map of the lake’s northern bank below.

‘Finger’ area on the northern bank of Pangong Lake. 
‘Finger’ area on the northern bank of Pangong Lake. 

While India holds area up to the western side of Finger 4 and claims that the LAC runs through Finger 8, China says the LAC is close to Finger 2.

India has been sending patrols up to Finger 8 for years, while the Chinese patrol up to the eastern side of Finger 4.

India’s Indo-Tibetan Border Police has a camp between Finger 2 and 3, marked in the map above in orange.

It was set up sometime around 2013-14. The Chinese have a base in the area east of Finger 8, marked in the above map in red.

However, in early May, the Chinese moved forces and equipment up to Finger 4, building camps in the area and occupying the finger heights.

With the Chinese present between Finger 4 and 6 in large numbers, Indian patrols, which earlier used to go as far as Finger 8, where the Indian claim line lies, will not be able to move beyond Finger 4.

This, in effect, will give China control of the entire region between Finger 4 and 8 and the adjoining heights.

India wants China to reverse this change in status quo. So far, China has been reluctant to pull back from Finger 4 to its positions near Finger 8 in April.

The situation at Pangong Tso will be on the top of India’s agenda at the fourth Corps Commander-level meeting tomorrow.

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