Conflicts & War

India, China army commanders agree to disengage to end border standoff

New Delhi, Jun 23 (efe-epa).- The Indian army chief on Tuesday embarked on a trip to Ladakh after military commanders from India and China agreed to “disengage” and put an end to an ongoing border stand-off in the Himalayan desert region that killed at least 20 Indian soldiers and wounded dozens in deadly hand-to-hand combat last week.

Indian Army sources told EFE that the consensus to disengage from points of confrontation was reached during a meeting between Indian and Chinese corps commanders on Monday.

“The corps commander level talks (…) were held in a cordial, positive, and constructive atmosphere. There was a mutual consensus to disengage,” a source said, requesting not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“Modalities for disengagement from all friction areas in eastern Ladakh were discussed and will be taken forward by both the sides,” said the source.

The meeting between Lt. Gen. Harinder Singh, the commander of India’s 14 Corps, and Maj, Gen. Liu Lin, the commander of the Xinjiang Military District, was the second corp commander-level talks between the two sides since the standoff began in May.

The two sides have been holding senior military-level talks to ease tensions on the borders that remain in alert in the wake of the worst military crisis in decades between the two nuclear-armed Asian giants.

As the tensions remain high, the Indian Army chief, General MM Naravane, is making a trip to Ladakh to discuss with ground commanders the stand-off with the Chinese military that has been going on for nearly two months.

Naravane, according to the sources, is also expected to review the defense preparedness and troop deployment across the Line of Actual Control, the de facto border that separates Ladakh in India’s extreme north from the arid desert area of Aksai Chin in the Chinese province of Xinjiang.

“(The) army chief will be visiting Ladakh for reviewing the ground situation, discuss, visit forward locations and interact with troops on the ground,” a defense ministry source said.

Both India and China have blamed each other for the violence and changing the status quo on the de facto border.

Violence on the night of Jun.15 marked an unprecedented border tension between the two neighbors locked in a bitter standoff after India allegedly started constructing roads and an airstrip in the disputed mountainous region, which is also claimed by Pakistan.

There have been reports of the two sides reinforcing their border defenses, raising fears about an extended military deadlock between the two. EFE-EPA

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