NEW DELHI: India and China will hold a third round of Major-General level talks on Friday following the release of ten Indian soldiers held captive by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The Major-General level talks are being held in the aftermath of June 15 violent clash between border troops at Galwan Valley, Ladakh, which lead to the death of 20 Indian soldiers.

The June 15 clash had erupted when PLA soldiers, who after initially pulling back a little in consonance with the de-escalation plan finalized by the rival commanders, returned to erect a “temporary post” in the shape of tents near Patrolling Point-14 (PP-14).

Here are the latest developments:

Ministers ‘Lying' To Protect PM; Centre Was Fast Asleep When Chinese Troops Attacked: Rahul

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused senior ministers in the government of "lying" to protect the prime minister and that the Centre was "fast asleep" while martyred jawans paid the price in Ladakh.

"It's sad to see senior GOI ministers reduced to lying in order to protect the PM. Don't insult our martyrs with your lies," he tweeted using the hashtag ‘BJPBetraysOurJawans'.

Gandhi also tagged a one-minute video of a jawan's father saying the Indian soldiers were unarmed when they were attacked by Chinese troops.

IAF Chief Visits Leh To Review Ladakh Operations, Fighter Aircraft Moved To Forward Bases

Even as the Indian Air Force moved its assets including fighter aircraft to forward bases and airfields in view of the ongoing dispute with China, its chief RKS Bhadauria was on a two-day hush-hush visit to the Leh and Srinagar airbases, which would be the most critical for any operations to be carried out by the force in the Eastern Ladakh area.

China Says It Did Not Detain Indian Soldiers In Clash

China says it never detained Indian soldiers after Indian media reports that China had released 10 of them late Thursday. Indian officials have also denied that Indian troops were in Chinese custody. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Friday that "China hasn't seized any Indian personnel"

"Regarding the serious situation in Galwan Valley, right and wrong is very clear. The responsibility entirely lies with Indian side. India and China are in talks to ease the situation," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian responded when asked about the calls to boycott Chinese products in India.

The talks between Leh-based 3 Infantry Division commander Major General Abhijit Bapat and his PLA counterpart on Thursday had led to the release of ten Indian soldiers, including four officers. The sioldiers were taken captive during the bloody skirmish in the area on June 15. “The soldiers, who were finally released on Thursday, have been medically examined and are being debriefed,” said a source.

China’s Galwan Claim Contrary To June 6 Talks

Skirmishes between border troops had been ongoing since May with India and China's senior military commanders engaged in a de-escalation process, which nonetheless resulted in the June 15 violent clash. On Thursday, India warned Beijing that making “exaggerated and untenable” claims was contrary to an earlier June 6 understanding between senior military commanders for de-escalation and disengagement along the Line of Actual Control. On Thursday, the Chinese foreign ministry had repeated its accusation that Indian troops crossed the line.

China Keeps Mum On Galwan River Dam

China on Thursday remained evasive about the number of casualties suffered by it in the Galwan valley clash and also on the role of its troops. It didn't respond to queries on reports that it was building a dam on the Galwan river on the border to obstruct its flow.

Indian soldiers at the face-off site on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) were armed but according to previous agreements between India and China, did not use weapons, foreign minister S Jaishankar said in a comeback to Congress’s Rahul Gandhi questioning why the soldiers were unarmed. Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said in a TV interview, “Can’t send unarmed soldiers to fight with stones, send RSS workers with lathis”. On social media, there were calls to let Indian troops use firearms in Galwan-like situations.

Some In Forces Favour ‘Limited Action’ To Send Message To China

There is a strong view within the armed forces that India should explore the option of a ‘limited’ military action in response to China’s continuing belligerence and military build-up along the unresolved border in eastern Ladakh. The votaries of a muscular response, however, acknowledge that the final call will need to be political and be based on a complex matrix of considerations.

India's Military Options Against China

The military options range from forcibly evicting soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from what India considers to be its territory and securing the heights to even a ‘calibrated conflict’ — like the 1999 Kargil one with Pakistan — in conjunction with political, diplomatic and economic measures, according to some high-ranking officers in the forces.

India Should Not Hesitate From Exploiting China's Vulnerabilities

The China Dream is nothing else than to dominate the world, become the sole superpower in international politics and create a Pax Sinica which is why China acknowledges the US as its main rival. However, China is also acutely aware that due to India’s geographical area, population, education levels and acknowledged strengths in science, engineering, IT, innovation, India has the potential to challenge China in future. Thus, China ensures that India does not live up to its potential and keeps it caught in border skirmishes, uses Pakistan against India and has also opposed India's entry in the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Which is why some in India feel that the country's leadership should not hesitate in exploiting China's vulnerabilities in Tibet, Taiwan and Xinjiang.

‘Clashes Result of Improved Patrolling Due To Better Infrastructure’

The frequent clashes between India and China at disputed border sites are seen as the outcome of India’s improved patrolling due to better infrastructure, which has been built in the past few years. Government sources said frequent face-offs were not necessarily a sign of weakness or bad relations but indicated a greater ability on the part of the Indian Army to monitor, detect and respond to PLA patrolling. As infrastructure keeps improving, these possibilities will only increase, sources said.

Railways Scraps Contract With Chinese Firm

DFCCIL (Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd), an entity under Railways ministry, on Thursday decided to terminate the contract with Beijing National Railway Research & Design Institute of Signal & Communication for installing signals and communications system in the 417-km Kanpur-Deen Dayal Upadhyay Jn section of the eastern freight corridor. The project was funded by the World Bank and the company was chosen in 2016 through the bank’s bidding process. However, on Thursday, India scrapped the Rs 471-crore contract without waiting for the multilateral lending agency’s nod.

India Looks To Wall Off Market From China

In a move to whittle down the share of Chinese goods and companies in the Indian market, the government is looking to fast-track several decisions, including putting in place domestic standards to check cheap imports, apart from restricting the award of contracts in projects being executed by the Centre and the states.