China not de-escalating? ‘40,000 troops still present near LAC’

23 July, 2020 | Priyanka Sharma

Chinese troops National

People's Liberation Army (PLA) continued deployment of around 40,000 troops in its front and depth areas for the Eastern Ladakh sector. These troops are supported by heavy weaponry like air defence...

It seems that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is not in a mood to de-escalate the situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as it has continued deployment of around 40,000 troops in its front and depth areas for the Eastern Ladakh sector.

The Chinese are also not honouring their commitment for disengagement at the friction points in Eastern Ladakh and not moving back as per the agreed terms during the multiple rounds of talks at the government and Army level and intervention at the senior level like the one done by the National Security Advisor couple of weeks ago would be required for further progress, the sources said.

“The Chinese have not shown any signs of de-escalation as they continue to maintain their heavy troop deployment of almost 40,000 troops supported by heavy weaponry like air defence systems, armoured personnel carriers and long-range artillery in front and depth areas,” sources said.

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The disengagement process has also not made any progress since the last round of talks between the two Corps Commanders held last week and ground positions have also not changed, the sources said. The Chinese are also showing reluctance in moving out of the Finger 5 area and retreat back to their permanent location in Sirijap as they want to create an observation post in the Finger area, sources said.

Similarly, they have done a heavy amount of construction of structures in the Hot Springs and Gogra post area which are the two major friction points in the Eastern Ladakh sector. In the Hot Springs and Gogra area, the Chinese have been giving excuse of the possibility of India occupying strategic heights there once they retreat to their permanent locations in their side of the border, the sources said.

In the last meeting between Corps commander-level officers on July 14-15, it was agreed that both sides will now monitor further disengagement by troops and verify the development in the next few days. The NSA, during his interaction with the Chinese side, had made it clear that both sides will have to move back to their permanent locations for the matter to be sorted out completely and to the satisfaction of both sides.

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