China on Friday, 5 June, said it is committed to resolving the "relevant issue" with India ahead of the key talks between senior Indian and Chinese military officials on Saturday to end the border standoff, news agency PTI reported.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in Beijing that "at the moment, the situation in the boundary region between China and India is overall stable and controllable".
"We have full-fledged border-related mechanisms and we maintain close communications through military and diplomatic channels... We are committed to properly resolve the relevant issue," he was quoted by PTI as saying
China Appoints New Army Ground Forces Commander For India Border
Meanwhile, ahead of the meet between senior military commanders of India and China on 6 June, China has appointed a new PLA Ground Forces commander for India border.
Lieutenant General Xu Qiling has been appointed as the new commander.
According to a The Hindu report, this new appointment was first publicly confirmed in a report on 1 June.
On the other hand, India is readying agenda points aimed at seeking restoration of status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.
The Leh-based 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen Harinder Singh is scheduled to hold talks with his Chinese counterpart and decide the agenda points. The meeting will take place at Chushul-Moldo.
The meeting comes at a time when there are several reports of slight retreat by both the armies at one of the flash points, in Galwan Valley. While the Chinese army has reportedly retreated by 2 kilometres, the Indian Army has stepped back by one kilometre.
China had deployed close to 5,000 soldiers, tanks and artillery guns on its side of LAC, in the Ladakh sector. India, too, had also sent in military reinforcements.
Galwan, Hot Spring, Not Among List of Contested Areas
It must be noted that the areas of Galwan and Hot Spring, sites for the current tensions between the two sides, do not figure in the list of 23 contested areas.
“Both sides have taken Galwan and Hot Spring to be ‘settled areas’ and, therefore, there was a bit of a surprise element in the Chinese action,” an official had told The Indian Express.
Eleven of the 23 contested areas on the LAC were identified in Ladakh under the western sector, four in the middle sector, and eight in the eastern sector. Galwan and Hot Spring, sites for current tensions between the two, don’t figure in the list of 23 contested areas.
Pangong Tso is part of the list, where troops from both the sides are stationed and are currently camping. This is touted be the main focus of the meeting on Saturday.
In the northern bank of Pangong lake, India claims that its area is from Finger area 1 to Finger 8 and China claim their area to be from Finger 8 till Finger 2. The standoff between the two sides has usually taken place when patrol parties came face-to-face between finger area 4 and 8, which is claimed by both sides.
Sources have said the Indian Army would ask the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China to withdraw from Finger 4 area in the north of Pangong Tso and Hot Springs-Gogra region.
Both the sides have varying perception of the LAC in these areas. At one of the spots, the difference is around 10 km.
India Likely to Tell China to Revert to Earlier Position
A Division Commander Level Meeting was held between the Major General rank officers of the two sides on Tuesday afternoon to resolve the issue but in the end it remained "inconclusive."
A top Indian Army officer said, "This needs to be resolved on urgent note," reported IANS.
India is likely to tell China, on Saturday, to revert to earlier positions. Since Galwan is not included in the list of disputed areas, India has conveyed to China that its troops were in the areas that were never contested.
India can either pressure China by carving out a new position of its own along the LAC or reason out with China to withdraw its troops.
As per protocol, on Saturday, the visiting commander will get to read his points first, followed by the host's (China) points. The points will then be discussed and minutes of the meeting prepared by each side.
The trigger for the face-off, among the main reasons, was China's stiff opposition to India laying a key road in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso lake, besides construction of another road connecting Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.