New Delhi: India and China held a special round of military talks on Tuesday at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point in eastern Ladakh to discuss airspace violations and provocations by the Chinese side in that region over the past 45 days. The talks were held after the Indian Air Force countered Chinese attempts to provoke in the eastern Ladakh region by violating airspace and confidence-building measurement lines, according to which both sides have to fly fighter jets within 10 km of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Government sources told IANS: “During the military talks, the Indian side strongly objected to Chinese flight activities for over a month near the eastern Ladakh sector and asked them to refrain from such provocative activities.” The talks also come at a time when China is having strained relations with several countries, including the US, over a high-profile US leader’s visit to Taiwan and the firing of ballistic missiles in the Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone.
The talks between the two sides included air force officials from both sides along with representatives of the army. The Indian Air Force was represented by Air Commodore Amit Sharma from the Operations Branch, while an officer of an equivalent rank from the Air Force of the People’s Liberation Army came for the discussion.
Sources said the Indian Army was represented by a Major General-rank officer under the Fire and Fury Corps led by Lt Gen A Sengupta. The Chinese have been complaining about the Indian Air Force upgrading its capability in Tibet to detect Chinese Air Force aircraft operating within the territory they control. The confrontation between the two air forces began on 25 June when a PLAAF J-11 fighter aircraft flew very close to a point of friction in eastern Ladakh at around 4 p.m. and was picked up by both men on the ground as well as by radars.
Chinese activities in front of the Chumar sector continued for over a month and the Indian Air Force retaliated strongly by scouting its fighter jets, including Mirage 2000 and MiG-29, from its forward positions near the Ladakh region. Sources said that China did not expect such a strong response from the Indian Air Force which was ready to face any possible misadventure from the PLAAF.
They said that during this time the Indian Air Force is also taking precautions to ensure that there is no escalation on the ground and at the same time their air movements are also monitored.
India and China have held 16 rounds of Corps Commander-level talks to reduce the tension which began after China tried to change the status quo on the LAC in 2020.
So far, representatives of the ITBP and the Ministry of External Affairs are involved in the talks led by the Commander of the Fire and Fury Corps from the Indian side. Both sides have been successful in resolving the three friction points in eastern Ladakh and are holding discussions to find solutions for the Hot Springs area as well.