The Chinese have set up tents on the Indian side of the Charding Nala in Demchok in eastern Ladakh, senior government officials said.
The officials termed the people occupying these tents as “so-called civilians,” and said that even though India has been asking them to go back, “their presence remains.”
Demchok has witnessed stand-offs between Indian and Chinese troops earlier also. The two parties had acknowledged that Demchok and Trig Heights were disputed points on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) during meetings of the India-China joint working groups (JWG) earlier in the 1990s.
China had pressed the 12th round of Corps Commander-level talks on Monday, however, India proposed for the talks to be delayed by a few days to observe Kargil Day on 26 July. The Corps Commander-level talks are now probably to take place in the first week of August, or possibly sooner, sources said.
The last Corps Commander-level talks to discuss the disengagement and eventual de-escalation in eastern Ladakh, where India and China are engaged in a face-off since May 2020, were held in April this year.
As per a report published on The Indian Express, officials who are aware of the details said the delay in the talks at the Corps Commander level notwithstanding, the two sides have been in constant touch over the hotline. Since the standoff began, the two sides have exchanged messages nearly 1,500 times over the hotlines at Daulat Beg Oldie and Chushul, the officials said.
Sources said the talks have not progressed because India has been pushing for disengagement from all the friction points first, while China wants de-escalation, and for the additional troops in the depth areas to go back to their original bases before the rest of the friction points are disengaged.
A senior government official said the “situation is stable” currently. While it is not yet “2019 level,” it is “much better” than last year, the official said. There have not been “any transgressions” by China since February, nor any face-offs between the two armies.
“They are willing to disengage, but they like to negotiate,” the official said. Disengagement will happen, he said, “but it will take time.”
Troops from the two sides are currently “not eyeball-to-eyeball” anywhere, the official said. The delay in finding a resolution was because of the loss of trust, and that is the reason why both sides continue to have nearly 50,000 troops each deployed in the region, he said.