New Delhi: Another India-China meeting on the face-off at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the 8th round, is expected soon, perhaps sometime next week.

This time, the Indian contingent will comprise Lieutenant General PGK Menon, who has just taken over 14 corps in Leh and Naveen Srivastava, joint secretary, East Asia, of the Ministry of External Affairs. On the Chinese side, there will be major general Lin Liu and a foreign ministry official.

A solution is still a long way off, but the fact that the broad principles of disengagement have been agreed upon is an initial step.

The difficult issues of disengagement have to be discussed. This includes what has been called a North Bank-South Bank solution, with the Chinese withdrawing from the heights of Finger 4 and both sides from sensitive areas of the South Bank of Pangong Tso.

The reduction in the number of tanks is also on the table. The Chinese have between 300-400 tanks, including the modern ZTZ-99 version in Depsang, in the Valleys near Richin La, Hotsprings and Rudok. The agreement could also apply to armoured personnel carriers, the Chinese having the ZTZ04A in different parts of Ladakh.

Besides, the Chinese have also placed lots of artillery, both towed and self-propelled, heavy mortars, multi-barrelled rocket launchers, air-defence weapons and even, anti-tank guns.

The talks will look at disengagement, including the 'drawdown' of armoured vehicles before the winter and gradually, de-escalation, meaning pulling back the troops at the LAC. The Chinese have placed about 50,000 troops along the LAC.