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Four years ago, in April 2020, tensions flared on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. China began amassing troops, weaponry, and artillery along its side of the border. One of the key unresolved issues is the ongoing standoff at Depsang, a strategically significant plateau at 16,000 feet.

Depsang, a vast 972-square kilometer plateau, holds immense strategic importance. Crucially, it houses a vital section of the 255-km Darbuk-Shyok-DBO (DSDBO) road. This road serves as a critical artery, connecting the strategically located DBO airstrip to the Karakoram Pass. Chinese military buildup in Depsang directly threatens this vital Indian supply route.

Talks between India and China to resolve the Depsang standoff have reached a stalemate. A major sticking point is the troop presence at a “bottleneck” on the eastern edge of the plateau.

India has proposed a three-step process for resolving the standoff:

  1. Disengagement: This involves both sides pulling back troops from close proximity in disputed “grey zones” along the LAC to their pre-April 2020 positions.
  2. De-escalation: This entails a further withdrawal of troops and equipment by both sides, bringing military presence back to pre-standoff levels.
  3. De-induction: This final step involves the complete withdrawal of all additional troops and equipment deployed since April 2020.

Until a solution is reached and implemented, Indian troops have made it clear that they will maintain their presence along the LAC.