I. The Big Story: The Sino-Indian Border Dispute
Indian and Chinese Corp Commanders met for the seventh time to discuss disengagement and de-escalation at the Sino-Indian border. However, the meeting which started on the Indian side of the Chushul-Moldo point in eastern Ladakh achieved no breakthrough. The previous round, the sixth Corps Commander-level meeting, was held on September 21. Major General Liu Lin, Commander of the South Xinjiang Military District, led the Chinese delegation, while the Indian side was represented by Lt General Harinder Singh and Lt General PG K Menon. The latter took charge of Leh-based 14 Corps, which is dual tasked to face China in Ladakh and Pakistan in Drass-Kargil-Batalik and the Siachen Sector. Meanwhile, some changes could also be anticipated on the Chinese side as General Zhao Zhongqi, the Western Theatre Commander, turns 65 this November – which is also a retirement age for Chinese theatre commanders (previous MR leaders).
India, since the start of the stand-off, has been demanding the restoration of status-quo ante to the 2020 April position. China; however, insisted that the Indian troops should step back from the positions they occupied in August-end in the Chushul sub-sector. Meanwhile, Indrani Bagchi reports for the Times of India that the two sides have exchanged severe de-escalation proposals, which are currently studied by the top echelons of the Indian government. “While discussions on disengagement have been on for some time, the current discussion is seen as a serious movement between the two sides. The proposals have been discussed in the China Study Group,” she reports.