The sixth round of Corps Commander-level talks between India and China is set to be held on Monday in Moldo on the Chinese side of Line of Actual Control (LAC) with a sole focus on the implementation of a five-point agreement reached between the two countries on disengagement of troops and de-escalation of the volatile situation in eastern Ladakh, government sources said.
For the first time, a joint secretary-level officer from the Ministry of External Affairs is expected to be part of the Indian delegation, the sources said, adding India is looking for some concrete outcome from the dialogue. Both sides reached the agreement to resolve the border row at a meeting between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet in Moscow on September 10.
The agreement included measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the LAC. The Indian delegation at the talks is set to be led by Lt Gen Harinder Singh, the commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps of the Indian Army, while the Chinese side is likely to be headed by Major General Liu Lin, the commander of the South Xinjiang military region.
"In the talks, India will insist on complete disengagement of Chinese troops from the friction points at the earliest," said a source. Even as both sides are holding another round of talks, India further bolstered its dominance in over 20 mountain heights around the friction points near the Pangong lake, the sources said.
They also said that the IAF is set to use the newly-inducted Rafale jets to carry out sorties in Ladakh as part of the overall boosting of combat readiness in view of "provocative actions" by Chinese troops including the three incidents of shots being fired in the air in the last three weeks. The sources said the Indian Army also strengthened its dominance in over 20 strategic mountain heights around the northern and southern banks of Pangong Lake as well as in the extended general area of Chushul in the last few days even as freezing conditions are gripping the area, the sources said.
The talks are taking place to forward the stalled disengagement process at Pangong Tso and Gogra-Hot Springs, and to discuss the restoration of status quo in the Depsang Plains region in eastern Ladakh.
While both sides have stepped back in Galwan Valley and Hot Springs as agreed upon, the other two friction points — Pangong Tso and PP17 Gogra — have seen minimal progress. The pulling back has been stalled at Pangong Tso and Depsang Plains and 50 soldiers from both sides remain in a stand-off.
This comes days after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Rajya Sabha that no force in the world can stop Indian forces from patrolling on Ladakh border. He cautioned China that "we can start a war, but its end is not in our hands". Singh said India is seeking a peaceful resolution through talks in the border issue between both the countries.