New Delhi: In what can be called as an encouraging step towards peace, India and China have decided to de-escalate the ongoing tension over the border issue in Ladakh region. The two counties emphasised the need for “an expeditious, phased and step wise de-escalation as a priority,” two people familiar with the senior military commander level talks that took place on Tuesday said.

“The meeting yesterday (Tuesday) was long and held in a businesslike manner keeping in view the Covid-19 protocols. The discussions reflected the commitment of both sides to reduce the tensions along the LAC (Line of Actual Control). The process of dis-engagement along the LAC is complex and in such a context, speculative and unsubstantiated reports need to be avoided,” one of the people cited above said.

“More meetings are expected both at the military and at the diplomatic level, in future, to arrive at mutually agreeable solution and to ensure peace and tranquility along the LAC as per bilateral agreements and protocols,” the person added.

The two sides are still a way away from reaching an understanding on a solution to the current tensions but government sources said China had agreed on some broad parameters for disengagement at Patrolling Point 14, 15 and 17 of Galwan valley, involving the PLA pulling back some hundreds of metres from territories claimed by India.

The talks on Tuesday were the third time that Lt General Harinder Singh met his Chinese counterpart Maj General Liu Lin. The previous two were held on June 6 and June 22.

However, it is doubtful how far China is serious in its intent and how well it will stick to its commitment. After the first round of military-level talks on June 6, a deadly clash ensued on June 15-16.

A further meeting on June 22 saw a similar agreement of peace but it is clear that the Chinese have not moved back to where they came from. It has to be seen how far the third round talks of Tuesday changes the situation on the ground.

China’s penchant for territorial gains by demographic conquest is well-known and countries like the US, Japan, Russia, the UK and Australia are already wary of the expansionist plans of the communist government. They are closely watching the developments on the Indo-China border and realigning their geo-political strategies accordingly by keeping China out of the orbit.

Meanwhile, reports coming in late on Wednesday said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to visit Ladakh and possibly the border areas too, in a couple of days, to review the security situation on ground. The army chief is also likely to accompany him.

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