The on-going military-level talks between India and China are considered important for a strategy to resolve tension on the LAC

Indian and Chinese commanders are meeting on Monday, almost 10 days after Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi reached an agreement on the sidelines of SCO foreign ministers in Moscow on a five-point approach to resolve the military standoff in eastern Ladakh.

For the first time since May, the Indian military delegation at the meet has included a joint secretary-level officer from the Ministry of External Affairs, The Indian Express reports.

Already, several rounds of military and diplomatic-level talks have taken place between the two sides, without achieving any breakthrough in disengagement of troops along the Line of Actual Control. Speaking in the Parliament a few days ago, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said several friction areas have been created at the LAC after China amassed troops.

“As of now, the Chinese side has mobilized a large number of troops and armaments along LAC as well as in the depth areas. There are several friction areas in eastern Ladakh, including Gogra, Kongka La and North and South Banks of Pangong Lake,” Rajnath Singh said.

The Defence Minister admitted that the current situation was very different from the past as standoffs were resolved peacefully earlier. It was in April, troops buildup were detected, but tension between the two sides flared up after the Galwan Valley face off in early May, when the Chinese troops tried to hinder the normal, traditional patrolling pattern of Indian troops. On June 15, the situation on the LAC headed towards the worst when 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives in a physical scuffle with Chinese PLA troops at the Galwan Valley. The Chinese side also suffered incalculable loss in terms of soldiers’ casualties in this scuffle.

In the face of provocative behaviour of Chinese PLA troops on the border, India always sought for disengagement of troops and de-escalation of tension along the LAC. Yet the Chinese side continued with its delay and deception tactics.

Push came to shove, when Indian troops outsmarted Chinese PLA troops by occupying key heights in the Kailash range in eastern Ladakh towards the end of August and the second week of September. The new heights occupied by Indian troops include Magar Hill, Gurung Hill, Recehen La, Rezang La, Mokhpari and the dominating height over Chinese positions near Finger 4.

Occupation of these heights allows Indian troops to dominate the area, giving them a clear view of the strategically important Spanggur Gap and the Chinese garrison at Moldo. It has created a sense of unease among the Chinese military and political leadership. However, the taste of pudding is in the eating. The on-going military level talks between the two sides will show how serious the Chinese side is in implementing the five-point approach to resolve tension along the border.