India and China army commanders continued de-escalation talks in the Galwan region of eastern Ladakh on Friday as army officials from both sides met to resolve the face-off across the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The fifth round of military-level talks took place even as the troop build-up continued on both sides, days after a slight retreat by both armies at the LAC.
The talks at the Major General-level focused on three trouble spots in the Galwan area. Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a review meeting with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the three Service Chiefs to understand the ground situation, sources said.
It was the second review meeting of the Defence Minister within a week. The first was on June 8, two days after the Lieutenant General-level meeting between the two countries.
"The latest assessment on the LAC ground situation is done after military-level talks," said a source. General Rawat briefed Singh about the troop deployment at the stand-off places im eastern Ladakh.
Singh also reviewed the ground situation in Arunachal Pradesh. He also discussed the ongoing infrastructure work along the LAC.
On Thursday Ministry of External Affairs said India and China have agreed for an early resolution of the ongoing face-off at the LAC.
Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, "It was agreed that an early resolution of the situation would be in keeping with the guidance of the leaders."
He explained: "The two sides are, therefore, maintaining their military and diplomatic engagements to peacefully resolve the situation at the earliest as also to ensure peace and tranquillity in border areas. This is essential for the further development of India-China bilateral relations."
Both sides have had discussions at military and diplomatic levels. At the level of militaries, Corps Commanders of India and China met at Chushul-Moldo region on June 6 and again on June 10 at Major General level.
"The meeting ended on a positive trajectory and more similar meetings will take place," said the source.
"The Major General-level talks took place at Chushul-Moldo on Wednesday about the ongoing de-escalation and the Pangong stand-off situation was discussed," said a senior government officer.
He said more talks will take place at different levels in the days to come for complete de-induction and withdrawal of additional troops close to the LAC.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Wednesday in Beijing that both sides are taking steps to ease the situation along the borders.
"Recently diplomatic and military channels of China and India held effective communication on the situation along the border and reached a positive consensus. The two sides are following this consensus to take action to ease the situation along the borders," the spokesperson said.
Clashes between Indian and Chinese troops took place between May 5 and May 8. Thereafter, China increased the troop deployment. The Indian Army too deployed more troops and moved guns in equal numbers. "The reserve troops in Ladakh were swiftly moved to the stand-off positions," said a source.