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Marathon meeting on LAC resolution, Army Chief says PLA threat persists
Military Commanders of India and China were locked in a marathon meeting on Wednesday to resolve the issues at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

New Delhi, January 12

Military Commanders of India and China were locked in a marathon meeting on Wednesday to resolve the issues at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

The 14th round of Corps Commander-level talks on the border standoff were held on the Chinese side of the Chushul-Moldo meeting point. The talks started around 9.30 am and continued late into the night. There was no official statement on the dialogue till the filing of the report. The major focus of talks would be on disengagement in the Hot Springs area, called Patrolling Point 15, in eastern Ladakh. The issue of the Depsang Bulge, a 972-sq km plateau, would be taken up after the Hot Springs gets resolved.

Not against Siachen demilitarisation

We are not averse to demilitarisation of Siachen Glacier. However, Pak must accept the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) before any disengagement takes place. —General Naravane

The troop build-up on either side, for now, shows no signs of getting back to the pre-April 2020 levels.

Meanwhile, Army Chief General MM Naravane said talks were important to resolve the border issues, though each round might not "have an outcome".

The threat level at the LAC "has not reduced" and force levels were more or less the same, he said at a press conference in the Capital ahead of Army Day (January 15). The Army Chief said: "We will continue to deal with the PLA (People's Liberation Army) in a firm and resolute manner. The necessary safeguards are in place to deal with any contingency."

Speaking on how the future could pan out along the 3,488-km LAC, the Army Chief mentioned a three-step process to ease the standoff: disengagement of troops, de-escalation of tension followed by de-induction of all troops, weapons and equipment.

"Till these steps are completed, we have to remain there (LAC)," General Naravane said, asserting that the Army had the highest level of operational preparedness along the LAC even as dialogue was on with China.

To a question on India's response to the standoff, he said the Army response had been robust to a PLA attempt to unilaterally change the status quo at the LAC.

Lt Gen Anindya Sengupta, the newly appointed Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps, led the Indian delegation at the talks. The Chinese team was to be headed by South Xinjiang Military District chief Maj Gen Yang Lin.

The 13th round of talks, which took place on October 10, had ended in a stalemate.