Even as India is waiting for the China’s confirmation on a day for eighth round of military-diplomatic talks on disengagement in Ladakh, it is learnt that the India has rejected the conditions raised by the Chinese for withdrawal of their troops from the Finger 4 mountainous spur on the north banks of Pangong Tso.
Officials familiar with the thinking in India’s national security establishment say that the next round of talks is expected to be held after the 5th Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee meeting and the US Presidential elections result which is due November 3. Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has made clear that the nation is ready to continue with disengagement on the border so that both the armies can retreat. Both the armies are in a tense standoff since early May.
Senior Military Commanders familiar with the matter say that India has found China’s condition that Indian Army will patrol only till finger 3 of Pangong Tso and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will patrol till finger 5 unacceptable as this condition implies that the conflicted finger 4 will become a part of Chinese occupied Aksai Chin.
The Chinese are proposing that the finger 4 will become out of reach for both the armies. India finds the deal unsatisfactory as the Indian Army used to or at least try to patrol finger 8 in the past. Both the nations have their own perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which the other party finds unacceptable. China believes in a 1959 line which runs through the finger 4 of the Pangong Tso, which obviously India rejects. India’s perception of the line goes through finger 8 of the salt water lake. The Chinese side has built a road to finger 4 from finger 8 which the Indian side is yet to.
China has also proposed that the Indian Army first vacate the Rezang La -Rechin La ridge-line on the south bank of the Pangong Tso as a part of the disengagement process which India has rejected. India wants the Chinese to withdraw first.