New Delhi: The face-off between the Indian Army troops and soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continues, but a silver lining after three tense weeks has been a slight decrease in forces on both sides.
Top government sources said: “There has been a token reduction by both sides in some areas. It is just a goodwill gesture. We hope the same can happen in other areas. This happened last week.”
Token gesture apart, there are still several thousand troops on both sides along the Line of Actual Control in the Galwan nala area. The sources added: “The build-up is there and the Indian build-up is commensurate to that on the Chinese side.”
There is also the realisation that “normalisation” is not going to happen soon. It could take weeks, maybe months for the situation on the ground to be what it was in April this year.
While the armies stand face to face on a barren, mountainous area, diplomats on both sides are trying to ease tensions, in New Delhi and also, Beijing. Both sides have talked of de-escalation and the Chinese ambassador here, Mr Sun Weidong, was summoned about two weeks ago. Some of the conversations have been on the phone.
“There is a realisation on both sides that escalation will not help,” high-level government sources said.
There is a feeling that the problem will get sorted out, but like Doklam, which took over 70 days. The Depsang face-off took a long while to end. India is also optimistic about sorting out of the issue. But there is a rider: It will take time.
The faceoff in Galwa, in north-eastern Ladakh, began in early May after the PLA wanted the Indians to stop construction of a road upto PP 14, a point close to the LAC. They didn’t want India to build a bridge across the Galwan nala. When they tried to stop the construction, saying it was being done in Chinese territory, there were a couple of scuffles. This led to both sides increasing their force strength in the area.