Chinese claim line, India’s understanding of the LAC almost intersect at PP 15

The visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Delhi last month was considered a diplomatic breakthrough given the slump in bilateral ties since the standoff in Ladakh started in 2020.

During Wang's visit, India and China announced they would work to resolve the standoff.

On Sunday, The Indian Express reported that around the time of Wang's visit, China had sent a proposal for disengagement of troops from Patrolling Point 15 in the Hot Springs area of eastern Ladakh.

“Government sources said China proposed that Indian troops, who have been in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with Chinese troops at PP 15 for almost two years now, move back to the Karam Singh Post between PP 16 and PP 17. China said it would withdraw its troops just behind the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as claimed by India in that region,” The Indian Express reported.

The publication said the proposal was rejected “since the Chinese claim line and India’s understanding of the LAC almost intersect at PP 15. If India were to accept the proposal, it would mean that while Chinese troops would move back very little, Indian troops would have to withdraw several kilometres behind”. A government official told The Indian Express “While they will move back to just behind PP 15, they are asking us to relinquish even PP 16 which has never been claimed by China earlier. It’s like saying ‘I will move back 1 km and you move back 5-10 km.’ It’s a non-starter of a proposal for discussion.”

The Indian Express added there had been little progress for disengagement from the Depsang Plains in north Ladakh. “While the Chinese have denied Indian troops access to their traditional patrolling points 10, 11, 11A, 12 and 13, the information available with the government is that China has stationed a temporary hot-mix plant for roadbuilding behind these patrolling points on the Chinese side,” the report said.

A total of 15 rounds of talks has been held at the level of corp commanders between the two armies on disengagement from various parts of Ladakh. But progress has been slow.