India will focus on "complete disengagement" by China in Ladakh's Finger area in a fresh round of diplomatic talks to scale down tensions along the de facto border, army sources confirmed today.
Commander-level talks between the Indian and Chinese armies were supposed to start at 11am today in Moldo - the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control, sources said.
This will be the fifth round of talks between the countries in an attempt to defuse tensions following clashes between the nations in June in the Galwan Valley that stunned the country. 20 Indian soldiers were killed in action on June 15, stoking anger against China that led to weeks of talks between senior officials on how to ease tensions.
The key focus of the fifth round of corps commander-level talks is expected to be finalising a framework for total disengagement of troops from friction points besides timely withdrawal of forces and weapons from the bases of the two armies, the sources said.
India had on Thursday in a statement that the process of disengagement of troops in eastern Ladakh has not yet been completed though some progress has been made. This was a counter to China's claim that frontline forces of the two countries have "completed" this exercise at most locations along their border.
Last week, government sources told NDTV that China has not pulled back troops from all the areas that it had intruded into Ladakh near the LAC in May.
China's troops are still present in the Depsang Plains region, Gogra and the Fingers region along the Pangong Lake where India and China had started a mutual disengagement by creating a buffer zone between both sides, India had said.
India has been insisting that China must withdraw its forces from areas between Finger Four and Eight. The mountain spurs in the area are referred to as 'Fingers'.
There have been several rounds of diplomatic and military talks in the last few weeks to ease tension in the region.
Indian and Chinese forces have locked in a standoff on their de-facto Himalayan border since May. The two sides blame each other for the clash in Ladakh and have since moved thousands of troops there while pursuing talks that they say aim to ease the tensions.
India and China have not been able to agree on their 3,488-km long border that runs from the snow deserts of Ladakh in the western sector to thick forest and mountains in the east, despite several rounds of talks over the years.