I. The Big Story: 100 Days of The Sino-Indian Stand-off
The Sino-Indian stand-off completed 100 days on Thursday, August 13. But there is no significant progress made on disengagement and de-escalation, especially since the past month or more. The PLA is still on the Indian-side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at Pangong Tso and Gogra- Hot Springs area, and blocking India’s approach road to the Depsang Plains. Both countries have also moved heavy weaponry along the LAC on all crucial points and kept their forward air force bases on alert.
This week, the Major Generals from both sides met to discuss de-escalation of troops and equipment at Depsang. The meeting began on the Indian side of the LAC at the Daulat Beg Oldie-Tianwendian Border Point. This was the first Major General-level talks since the stoppage of all established meetings at Colonel, Brigadier and Major General-levels following the violent clash at Galwan on June 15. There were two things on the agenda for the Indian-side: De-escalation of troops and equipment and restoration of patrolling rights. Sushant Singh reports in the Indian Express that the two sides did not discuss any other friction point during the meeting, focusing exclusively on Depsang Plains. “Here, the Indian and Chinese versions of the LAC differ by around 23 km. This has led to a large number of Chinese transgressions on the Indian side: 157 in 2019, up from 83 in 2018 and 75 in 2017,” he notes. Also, Depsang is one of the few places on the LAC where tank manoeuvres are possible and were occupied by the Chinese troops in the 1962 Sino-Indian war. A significant Chinese presence on the Indian side of Depsang Plains could threaten access routes to India’s logistical hub and DBO airstrip.