“India wants peace but will retaliate if provoked by the Chinese,” sources said after the meeting.

New Delhi:

There was a “mutual consensus to disengage” in top military talks between India and China yesterday on the Chinese side of the border to discuss the Galwan face-off and other points of conflict. The talks were held “in a cordial, positive and constructive atmosphere,” said army sources on Tuesday.

The details for disengagement from all friction areas in eastern Ladakh were discussed and will be taken forward by both sides, the sources said.

Lieutenant General-level talks were held at Moldo on the Chinese side of Chushul.

The last time a meeting at this level was held was on June 6, when India and China agreed to pull back troops in attempts to de-escalate after weeks of tension and build-up. Disengagement began on both sides after that meeting; the Chinese pulled back troops, followed by the Indians.

But on June 15, a fight broke out between the two sides in the worst-ever border confrontation between the Indian and Chinese armies since 1967.

Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the line of duty and 76 injured in the deadly clash triggered by the Chinese refusing to remove a tent as part of what was agreed on June 6. Indian soldiers were assaulted with crude and barbaric weapons used by the Chinese troops, including nail-studded clubs, spiked rods and stones. Army sources said 45 Chinese soldiers were killed or injured in the brawl along Galwan River.

On Sunday, India’s top defence establishment decided that army would change its rules of engagement with the Chinese at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Field commanders are now empowered to sanction use of firearms under ”extraordinary” circumstances.

“India wants peace but will retaliate if provoked by the Chinese,” sources said after the meeting.

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