India asks China to pull back troops, cease further construction in Depsang sector in Ladakh at military talks

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India asks China to pull back troops, cease further construction in Depsang sector in Ladakh at military talks


NEW DELHI: India asked China to pull back its troops and stop further construction activities in the strategically-located Depsang-Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector of eastern

Ladakh

, where both have amassed thousands of soldiers as well as tanks and artillery guns, in another round of

military talks

on Saturday.

India stressed the “importance of reducing tensions to prevent any inadvertent escalation or clash” in the Depsang Plains, which has been a major flashpoint over the years because the rival “perceptions” of the line of actual control (LAC) vastly differ in the region, said sources.

In terms of strategic importance, Depsang Plains is more crucial than

the Pangong Tso

and Gogra areas, where the deadlock in troop disengagement has largely persisted despite five rounds of the highest military dialogue at the corps commander-level till now.

The “one-rung lower” talks on Saturday were held between 3 Infantry Division commander Major General Abhijit Bapat and his PLA counterpart on the Chinese side of the DBO-Tien Wien Dien (TWD) border personnel meeting point from 11 am to 7.30 pm.

“Below the corps commanders, who are focusing on the major face-off sites, talks are being regularly conducted at the level of colonels, brigadiers and major generals for discussing specific sectors,” said a source.

There was no official word on the Saturday meeting. But sources said Gen Bapat insisted that the

PLA troops

camping near the “Bottleneck” or “Y-junction” area in Depsang Plains since May should not continue to block Indian soldiers from going to their traditional Patrolling Points (PPs)-10, 11, 12 and 13.

The “Bottleneck” area is around 18-km inside what India perceives to be its territory, though the Chinese claim line lies another 5-km to the west of it. China, in fact, claims 972 square km of territory in the region.

The last major troop face-off in Depsang Plains, the table-top plateau located at an altitude of 16,000-feet and just about 35-km south of the critical Karakoram Pass, took place in April-May 2013

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