New Delhi: The China Study Group (CSG) headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met on Wednesday evening to discuss the emerging situation in Ladakh and how to proceed further with China.
Army chief MM Naravane, Northern army commander Lt Gen Y K Joshi and 14 corps head Lt Gen Harinder Singh, who has been negotiating with his Chinese counterpart on disengagement, are reported to have attended the CSG meeting.
CSG, which is apex policy advisor to the government on China discussed the outcome of the 4th Corps Commanders meeting between India and China, said sources. The CSG meeting took place at a time when there are indications that the second phase of disengagement between India and China is going to be tough and will need more negotiations. Army gave a briefing about the Corps Commanders meeting and overall ground situation at the line of actual control (LAC). Cabinet secretary and secretaries of home, defence and finance and representatives of the intelligence agencies are part of the CSG.
The Corps Commanders meeting between India and China on Tuesday went for 15 hours to finish at around 2 am in the morning (4:30 am Beijing time). Sources said that there were hard negotiations from both sides. However, there is still no official word yet on the meeting. The CSG meeting is likely to give direction on how to take negotiations further with China.
India wants China to completely disengage from Pangong Tso and Depsang plains besides reducing its troops strength from LAC where China has amassed tanks, artillery and radars, jammers.
Chinese foreign ministry said on Wednesday that the 4th Corps Commanders meeting “achieved progress in pushing forward disengagement of frontline border troops from both countries and easing border situation.”
Defence minister Rajnath Singh will visit forward areas in LAC and LoC this week to take stock of the situation. Mr Singh, who will be accompanied by Army Chief will visit Ladakh on July 17 and Srinagar on July 18.
A special meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council, under Mr Singh on Wednesday delegated the powers for buying urgent weapons and ammunition upto Rs 300 crores to the armed forces to meet their emergent operational requirements.
“This will shrink the procurement timelines and ensure placement of orders within six months and commencement of deliveries within one year,” said the defence ministry. It said that the special meeting was called “considering the security environment due to the prevailing situation along the Northern borders and the need to strengthen the armed forces for the defence of our borders.”
In the last meeting on June 30, 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen Singh and South Xinjiang Military Region, commander Maj Gen Liu Lin had agreed to mutually move back their troops in flash points by upto 2 kilometers in the Ladakh sector to bring down chances of a confrontation. However, further movement of troops away from flash points will not be easy, said sources.
Last week Indian and Chinese troops completed their initial phase of disengagement from flashpoints by mutually moving back from Galwan Valley, Hot Springs, Gogra Post and finger 4 area of Pangong Tso. However, in Pangong Tso Chinese are still occupying ridges in finger 4. Chinese troops still have to vacate area between finger 5 and finger 8, which India claims is its territory. In May 2020, Chinese troops in an aggressive move occupied the area between Finger 4 to Finger 8 and prevented Indian troops from patrolling the area.