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India-China standoff: US says opt for peaceful resolution

New Delhi: The US government has stressed it supports peaceful resolution of the stand-off between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh where at least 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops have been killed in violent clashes.

A US state department issued a statement, saying, “We are closely monitoring the situation between Indian and Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control.”

The Trump administration noted the Indian military announcement of the killing of its 20 soldiers and offered “condolences to the families.”

The US government said that both India and China have “expressed a desire to de-escalate” and it supports a “peaceful resolution of the current situation” in the Galwan Valley where the violent clashes took place and India lost a Commanding officer among the 20 killed.

The statement pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump had discussed the situation on the Indo-China border in a phone conversation on June 2, just days ahead of the June 6 meeting between top officers of India and China on disengagement at LAC.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in a phone conversation with his Chinese counterpart on Wednesday asked China to “reassess its actions and take corrective steps” in view of the “unprecedented” violence along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

Jaishankar and China’s state councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in a phone conversation, discussed the situation along the LAC in Galwan valley.

The Global Times, mouthpiece of the government in Beijing, however said that the State Councillor of China in his phone call with Jaishankar, asked India to investigate the incident and punish those responsible, and restrain its military forces in the region to prevent any provocative actions.

As per a statement issued by the ministry of external affairs in New Delhi, Jaishankar in his conversation with his counterpart, accused China of taking “pre-meditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties.” It reflected an intent to change the facts on ground in violation of all our agreements to not change the status quo, he said.

Underlining that this “unprecedented development will have a serious impact on the bilateral relationship,” he told Wang that the “need of the hour was for the Chinese side to reassess its actions and take corrective steps.”

Jaishankar conveyed the protest of the government, recalling that at the meeting of senior military commanders on June 6, an agreement had been reached on de-escalation and disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

“Ground commanders were meeting regularly to implement this consensus throughout the last week. While there was some progress, the Chinese side sought to erect a structure in Galwan valley on our side of the LAC,” the minister said adding that this became a source of dispute.

The two sides should scrupulously and sincerely implement the understanding that was reached by the senior commanders on June 6, Jaishankar told Wang adding that troops of both the countries should also abide by the bilateral agreements and protocols. “They should strictly respect and observe the line of actual control and should not take any unilateral action to alter it,” Jaishankar told his counterpart.

Earlier, the Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing, Zhao Lijian, told reporters that both China and India “agree to resolve this matter through dialogue and consultation and make efforts to ease the situation and safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border area.”

Zhao repeated his government’s claim that the clash was “provoked” by the Indian soldiers and China has lodged its strong protest with the Indian side.

“We once again ask the Indian side to act on our consensus, strictly discipline its front-line troops not to cross the line, not make provocations and not to take unilateral actions that might complicate the situation,” Zhao repeated.

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India, China start withdrawing troops from standoff positions

New Delhi: India and China have started the process of de-escalation at the Line of Actual Control with withdrawal of troops, guns and combat vehicles from three standoff positions in eastern Ladakh, sources said.

India’s bone of contention of Chinese troops built up at Finger Four would be resolved eventually, they said.

The withdrawal started happening after India and China’s top military-level talks that took place June 6.

There were five main issues during discussion between the delegates.

They included de-escalation of soldiers from four standoff points from both the countries. The four standoff points are Finger Four of North Bank of Pangong Lake, Patrolling point 14 near Galwan Valley, patrolling point 15 and patrolling point 17-A.

These are four points where troop concentration happened from both armies across the Line of Actual Control of either side. “No one crossed the Line of Actual Control as perceived by each other,” the source added.

Now, both countries have decided to de-induct and de-escalate troops and guns and move backwards.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have held two summits where they had decided to maintain peace and tranquility along the borders

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India, China working to resolve standoff in Ladakh region

New Delhi: China has made a slight retreat at Galwan Valley, one of the flashpoints leading to standoff with India, in Ladakh region on Wednesday, sources said. In a bid to resolve the issue, the China’s People’s Liberation Army moved back two kilometers and Indian Army moved back by one kilometer.

However, at another flashpoint Pangong Tso (lake), troops from both sides are stationed and are camping over there. This would be the main focus of the meeting on June 6 between top military officers of India and China.

Sources said that the Chinese are camping permanently at Finger 4 that has been under Indian control. “This needs to be resolved on urgent note,” said a top Indian Army officer.

Further, Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General YK Joshi has reached Ladakh to review the ground situation and he is going to remain till Thursday.

In addition, India and China military representatives carried out talks to resolve the ongoing face off in Eastern Ladakh.

Division Commander Level Meeting was held between the Major General rank officers of the two sides on Tuesday afternoon to resolve the issue but in the end it remained “inconclusive”.

Another round of talks between Indian and Chinese military leaders will be held on June 6. Indian Army Chief MM Naravane is confident enough that the stand-off would be resolved at military level talks, sources said.

Indian Army and China’s PLA held several meetings to resolve the face off. However, no breakthrough has taken place.

In the meantime, China has sent a large number of troops to the Line of Actual Control as reinforcement. Seeing this, Indian Army has also deployed forces accordingly.

There are four places where there is an eyeball to eyeball situation since May 5 at Line of Actual Control. Both sides have deployed over 1,000 troops in eyeball to eyeball situations at all four places.

The trigger for the face-off was China’s stiff opposition to India laying a key road in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso (lake) besides construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.

Sources said that the current standoff in Ladakh is not the usual patrolling faceoff but part of the new combative strategy that was rolled out by China after Doklam.

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