China wants buffer zone inside India-claimed lines for Depsang disengagement

New Delhi: In the strategically significant area of Depsang plains in Ladakh, China’s People’s Liberation Army has demanded the creation of a 15-20km buffer zone or no patrol zone inside India-claimed lines as a precondition for disengagement, Kolkata-based The Telegraph reports, citing an official from the intelligence wing of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

The ITBP official told the newspaper that the Chinese side made the latest demand during the 18th round of corps commander talks last month and reiterated it during subsequent military talks at lower levels.

“The Chinese want a buffer zone with a width of 15-20km inside Indian territory as part of the disengagement process from the Depsang Plains. During negotiations, India rejected the demand and instead agreed to a 3-4km buffer zone, but the Chinese refused to budge,” the official was quoted as saying.

The biggest buffer zone created during disengagement in various other areas on the LAC is of 10-km length on the north bank of Pangong lake, between Finger 4 and Finger 8. Many military veterans have alleged that these buffer zones are mostly on the Indian side and work to India’s detriment but there has been no official response from the Modi government.

“The Chinese army is already entrenched 18km inside India-claimed lines and now wants a buffer zone of another 15-20km. It’s apparent that they are working aggressively to establish a revised status quo along the Line of Actual Control in the region,” the official said.

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