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India, China hold top military-level talks in Maldo, Ladakh amid May 2020 standoff; 2 new commands of ITBP operationalised

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India, China hold military-level talksOn the request of Indian Government, Lieutenant General-level talks were held between India and China at the Border Personnel Meeting Point in Maldo in the Chushul sector, on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. The meet was held to restore status quo as on April 2020 end, which was affected by border standoff in eastern Ladakh in May 2020.

  • The Indian delegation was led by Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, Commander of 14 Corps, while the Chinese side was headed by Major General Liu Lin, Commander of the Tibet Military District. 
  • Notably, this meet took place after futile 12 rounds of talks between local commanders of the two armies and 3 rounds of discussions at the level of major general-rank officials.

Outcome of meet: Peaceful resolution of standoff situation

The year 2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and for further developments of these relations both sides agreed to peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas. Also, in accordance with various bilateral agreements India-China border regions is essential for the overall development of bilateral relations.

ITBP operationalises two newly sanctioned commands in Chandigarh & Guwahati

Due to the standoff between Indian and Chinese forces,  the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has operationalised its newly sanctioned twin commands viz. western headquartered at Chandigarh and eastern at Guwahati to streamline operations, intelligence, deployment, and administrative movement of its troops along the 3,488 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.

  • Both commands will be headed by an Additional Director General (ADG) rank officer, equivalent to Lt Gen in the Army.
  • ITBP Inspector General (operations) M S Rawat will take over the charge of the western command in Chandigarh with immediate effect in the capacity of ADG. He will continue to hold his charge of IG (operations, intelligence and veterinary) till a new incumbent is posted.
  • Similarly, another IG rank officer will head the Guwahati based eastern command.

The two commands were sanctioned by the Union government in October 2019 for better operational functioning of the about 35-38 battalions of the force deployed at the China LAC, starting from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh.

About India-China LAC border standoff:

Around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on May 5-6, 2020 in Pangong Tso or or Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh which was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 9, 2020. Pangong Tso Lake, located 14,000 feet (4,270 meters) above the sea level in the Himalayan region of Ladakh.

  • The reason behind this is the development of strategic road in the finger area of Pangong Tso Lake region besides another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie, the world’s highest-altitude airstrip, in Galwan Valley in Ladakh by India, which is being opposed by China.
  • The infrastructure is aimed at narrowing the gap with China’s superior network of roads that it built years ago, but China is opposed to any Indian construction in the area.
  • It should be noted that in 2017, there was a 73-day stand-off between India and China. The standoff was at the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction Doklam.

A standoff happens when two people or groups can’t move forward or proceed because of a disagreement.

About ITBP:
Director General– Surjeet Singh Deswal
Headquarter– New Delhi

About China:
Capital– Beijing
Currency– Renminbi
President– Xi Jinping