New Delhi: Government appears to be banking solely on the diplomatic option to to resolve the deadlock at Rakki Nullah in Daulat Beg Oldi with the high level China Study Group comprising the NSA, Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary and service chiefs driving thinking on the issue. Sources indicate there were no plans for a third flag level meeting.
Sources also admitted they haven't yet figured out what China's intentions were in deploying its troops 18 kn deep inside Indian territory, in tented accommodation with temperatures at minus five degrees celsius. The camp is sited on plain ground which clearly cannot be defended.
The Chinese seem to have come with enough supplies to last until now (today is the 11th day of the standoff) and no indication of them being supplied from behind their lines (around 25 km away). The Chinese do respond to gestures and waves from the Indians camped opposite.
It would seem the Chinese want to send a signal to India about its military and infrastructure build up in Ladakh without crossing too many red lines. But there's an element of hypocrisy here, given the feverish pace at which China has upgraded its own infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control with all weather highways, airfields and reportedly plans for railway lines.
What happens next. The challenge will arise when China seeks to reinforce its troops or replace with fresh troops and it may send heavier weapons or supply vehicles. The Indian Army could then respond choosing from a set of options that may include blocking the Chinese route or it could also up the ante by setting up camp in Chinese territory. So it is wait and watch.