If you see the chain of places where the negotiations have been carried out over the last two and a half years, Patrolling Point 15 is one more centerpiece in the whole chain which runs through the Y junction on Raki Nalla, Galwan river (PP14), Patrolling Point 15, PP 17 Alpha, Pangong Tso north and Pangong Tso south bank.
This is a chain of locations which provide access towards Aksai Chin and the Depsang Bulge.
These are areas where buffer zones have developed between the Indian Army and the People's Liberation Army.
Patrolling Point 15 is a pass on the ridge line. The pass is called Jianan La.
By climbing the pass up PP 15, Indian troops can reach the depth areas of the Galwan river, and also get access towards the Depsang Bulge.
Therefore, the PLA wanted to deny or stop the movement of our troops in this area. That is why in my opinion, it took such a long time to finally arrive at a consensus for the creation of the buffer zone at PP15.
The troops of both sides have disengaged from PP15.
The buffer zone means that Indian troops will not patrol to the end of PP15
and the Chinese will not come towards PP15.
As we have seen, it took a long and difficult negotiation because the 16th round of talks took place on July 17. It took 50 days to decide on the buffer zone.
Indian troops posed a threat to the PLA if they had crossed PP15. Hence, it would have been painful for the PLA to allow Indian troops to patrol up to PP15.
The same thing is true at other friction points. We were patrolling up to Finger 8 earlier, we are not any longer. The Chinese are also patrolling up to Finger 4, they too can't patrol up to this area.
At each one of these buffer zones, both forces have distanced and disentangled themselves. So instead of a Line of Actual Control, a sort of 'belt of actual control' has come into being, but this does not provide a settlement to the border dispute.
We have a post in PP3 - Dhan Singh Post- but we didn't have a post in Finger 4 or Finger 8.
We did not have permanent posts in areas of Raki Nala, PP10, 11, 12 or 13, but went for patrols to those areas and the Chinese used to also patrol up to the area of Burtse which they claim as in the 1959 claim line.
So by creating this so-called 'belt of control' or buffer zones, neither are we able to patrol the areas we were patrolling earlier nor the Chinese are able to patrol the areas they were patrolling
It is a denial on both sides. A no win situation and that is where the situation rests now.
This PP15 buffer zone has pushed Indian troops a little away while the PLA has pulled back similarly, thus creating a safe zone. It may suit the Chinese who do not want fisticuffs, brawls and scuffles that used to take place regularly for years.
Our troops used to patrol up to this area and have a look around. The PLA used to also patrol the area.
In the long term analysis, it may give PLA some satisfaction of having achieved a buffer zone protecting their own troops from the fisticuffs and scuffles. But they have also pushed us away from the patrolling areas.
It's a no win situation for either side