NEW DELHI: The foreign ministry will have a representative at the next meeting between senior commanders of Indian and Chinese armies, locked in a stand-off in eastern Ladakh. Naveen Srivastava, joint secretary, East Asia in MEA will join the commanders meeting to be held on Monday for the first time.

This will be the first meeting of senior commanders Lt Gen Harinder Singh and his Chinese counterpart Maj Gen Liu Lin after August 2. The others will include two majors general, Abhijeet Bapat and Param Shekhawat as well as the chief of the ITBP.

The meeting, according to sources, will be an opportunity to review positions and situation since then, and begin the first concrete steps towards a disengagement.

The Chinese side took the initiative for the meeting and had initially proposed September 17. This was not acceptable to the Indian side, which said they would be wiling to meet after September 20.

Three major developments have occurred since the last meeting — the Indian Army reversed its initial tactical disadvantages vis a vis Chinese positions on the northern and southern banks of the Pangong Tso, by dominating certain important heights on the crucial ridges.

The first instance of firing between the two sides was reported on September 7.

Indian and Chinese foreign ministers met in Moscow on September 10 and hammered out a five-point consensus on disengagement. India has emphasised complete disengagement would be an essential pre-requisite for de-escalation.

The meeting is expected to begin a process of disengagement but only if there appears to be some degree of agreement between the two sides.

MEA’s presence at the talks is intended to keep the discussions within the political parameters of the relationship and the larger border understandings between the two sides.