A day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Ladakh, there was a major briefing for the government in the Ops Room of the Military Operations Directorate of the Army in South Block. This was for Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. It went on for over two hours.
The briefing, by senior Army officers, was about the current situation, including troop deployment on both sides in the areas where India and China are face to face. It was also about the road ahead after the three rounds of discussions between Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, the Army’s 14 Corps Commander and major general Lin Liu, his equivalent.
This is really about what the Chinese would agree to do first and when. Currently, the two sides are face to face in the Galwan valley, where 20 Indian soldiers died in the fighting on the night of June 15, the Finger area of Pangong Tso and more recently, Depsang.
There is some optimism about settlements in a couple of areas. The disengagement issues including possible positive situations in a couple of areas were discussed.
Much will depend on two meetings coming up next week: another meeting between Lieutenant General Harinder Singh and Major General Lin Liu and a second Working Mechanism meeting. The latter involves the Indian ministries of external affairs, defence and home and the Army’s Military Operations directorate and their Chinese counterparts. This is at a joint secretary level and will be, like the previous one, a virtual meeting.