China’s insistence that Indian troops should vacate heights in Chushul has hit talks for disengaging troops from forward locations in eastern Ladakh before Harsh winter.
Beijing is yet to respond to dates suggested for the next commander level talks, narrowing the chances of pulling back troops from the inhospitable heights before harsh winter.
While talks are on for the PLA to withdraw from Finger 4 to 8 and Indian troops to vacate its positions at Rechin La and Rezang La, among others, on the Kailash range, the deep distrust which set in after the Galwan clash prevails.
China’s aim could be to occupy strategic positions in the Despang sector, a source said. If it succeeds, it would provide a shorter route to Shaksgam Valley, which Pakistan ceded illegally to China in 1963, and provide a better route to Karakoram Pass.
PLA does not want India at the Daulat Beg Oldie as it fears the Indian Army could threaten China’s flagship CPEC project.
This is the reason why China is silent on the Despang sector in the proposal under negotiations for disengagement, the source indicated.
For India, the Chinese position around DBO would sandwich its post at the Siachen between the Chinese and Pakistan’s forces. China has deliberately avoided mentioning the post-disengagement positions along the LAC in the Ladakh sector.
At the strategic level, China wants Pakistan to occupy a sizeable chunk of Jammu and Kashmir to ensure protection to CPEC. This is the common objective of both China and Pakistan.
China is not only providing diplomatic support to Pakistan but also encouraging it to escalate terrorism in J&K, hoping that US under Biden would sharply focus on the alleged human rights violations there and pressure India on Kashmir.