After 61-day intense stand-off, China and India announced Monday that they had made progress in disengaging frontline troops along a disputed part of their border where a brawl in June left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
The disengagement came after China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and India's national security advisor Ajit Doval spoke by phone on Sunday about the issues along the frontier known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
According to Karan Manral of India.com:
1. Indian and Chinese troops have both moved back by at least a kilometre from Patrol Point (PP) 14 in Galwan Valley. This is where they clashed on the night of June 15, resulting in deaths of 20 Indian soldiers, including that of a colonel, and an unspecified number on the Chinese side.
2. Disengagement has also taken place in Hot Springs and Gogra. This was achieved after three rounds of Corps Commander-level talks on June 6, June 22 and June 30. A buffer zone has been created to ensure that the two sets of troops remain at a distance from each other.
3. However, tensions continue to remain high at the
Pangong Tso area from where China is refusing to move as it is reportedly
holding advantageous positions there. Here, they are reported to have come in
eight kilometres west of which India says is the LAC.
India Today said while some disengagement has happened in Galwan, Hot Springs and Gogra, the situation at Pangong Lake hasn't changed much. At Pangong Lake, another flashpoint where clashes have taken place in the last two months, there are reports of Chinese removing some structures but there is no sign of moving back or de-escalation yet.
At Pangong Lake, a 2- to 3-km retreat is not acceptable to India and could remain a sticking point, according to India Today. "The Chinese are currently camping at Finger 4 and have set up bunkers and observation posts between Finger 4 and Finger 8, a distance of about 8 km. More meetings are expected both at the military and the diplomatic level, to arrive at mutually agreeable solution and to ensure peace and tranquility along the LAC as per bilateral agreements and protocols."
It may be recalled on June 20, China claimed sovereignty over the Galwan Valley, saying the region is on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control and had been patrolled by its troops for "many years". Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that since April, Indian troops had "unilaterally and continuously built roads, bridges and other facilities at the LAC in the Galwan Valley". China made representations and protests on multiple occasions but "India has gone even further to cross the LAC and make provocations," Zhao added.
In its statement Indian Ministry of External Affairs
(MEA) said Monday that both Doval and Wang Yi had a 'frank and in-depth'
discussion, adding that the two re-affirmed that both sides should strictly
respect and observe the LAC and not take any unilateral action to alter the
status quo and work together to avoid any future tensions in the border areas.
According to the MEA statement, both Wang and Doval agreed to stay in touch to ensure "full and enduring" restoration of peace and tranquility. Bilateral agreements dating back to 1993 that lay down specific protocols on the LAC issue were discussed as well.
These pacts are: The Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas, 1993; the 1996 Agreement on Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field along the LAC; the 2005 Protocol on Modalities for the Implementation of the Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field along the LAC; the 2012 Agreement on the Establishment of a Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs; and 2013 Border Defense Cooperation Agreement.
Troop withdrawal details kept mum to avoid speculations - Global Times
Chinese Special Representative of the China-India Boundary Question, State
Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian National Security Advisor
Ajit Doval spoke Sunday night, and the two sides reached a consensus on
de-escalating border tensions. Experts said that such high-level talks send
positive signals on easing border tensions, Global Times reported Monday.
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