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Disengagement kicks off: India, China mutually pull back troops, another round of talks today

Days after the Galwan clash, the Chinese and Indian armies have now mutually pulled back in the Pangong Lake area. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Thursday completed the withdrawal of its troops from two more face-off sites in Gogra and Hot Springs in eastern Ladakh in line with a mutually agreed disengagement process with…

Days after the Galwan clash, the Chinese and Indian armies have now mutually pulled back in the Pangong Lake area. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Thursday completed the withdrawal of its troops from two more face-off sites in Gogra and Hot Springs in eastern Ladakh in line with a mutually agreed disengagement process with India even as the two countries are set to hold a fresh round of diplomatic talks on Friday to further de-escalate the situation.

According to reports, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval will be heading the talks on Friday. Ajit Doval had categorically conveyed to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday about India’s position on the recent developments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) including in the Galwan Valley area.

Doval and Wang, the Special Representatives for border talks, held a telephonic conversation on Sunday following which armies of the two countries began disengagement of troops from friction points in eastern Ladakh.

Meanwhile, the 16th meeting of the India-China Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs, led by the Ministry of External Affairs, will also take place on Friday, July 10. This would be the second round of talks since the border stand-off.

The Indian delegation will be led by Naveen Srivastava, joint secretary (East Asia), Ministry of External Affairs, while the Chinese side will be led by the Director-General, Department of Boundary and Oceanic Affairs, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Union Defense Minister Rajnath Singh will also chair a crucial meeting on Friday at 12:30 pm with the three service chiefs and CDS Bipin Rawat to review ground zero report of the China border.

Indian Army trucks depart towards Ladakh amid India-China standoff. (Photo: PTI)

First signs of pullback at Pangong Lake, Chinese move to Finger 5, Indian troops follow suit

Following initial disengagement at three flashpoints in eastern Ladakh, the Chinese and Indian armies on Thursday mutually pulled back in the Pangong Lake area.

Sources told India Today that while People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops moved from Finger 4 to 5, soldiers of the Indian Army also took a step backwards towards Finger 3.

According to news agency PTI, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Thursday completed the withdrawal of its troops from two more face-off sites in Gogra and Hot Springs in eastern Ladakh.

“Like in other places, the retreat is mutual to ensure disengagement,” an official privy to the developments said. The official added that Finger 4 in Pangong will be a ‘no patrolling zone’ for the time being.

Another Corp Commander-level meet between India and China is likely in the coming days to review steps taken for disengagement and the way forward for complete de-escalation at Pangong Lake. Three rounds of Corps Commander level talks have taken place until now.

In the previous meeting on June 30, a roadmap was prepared for mutual disengagement and a 72 hour verification period was agreed upon from the time field commanders decided to move back. During this period, both armies could verify the pullback on either side.

Indian Army trucks move towards Ladakh from Kullu amid India-China standoff. (Photo: PTI)

Chinese, Indian border troops taken ‘effective measures’ to disengage along LAC, says China

China on Thursday said Chinese and Indian troops have taken “effective measures” to disengage at the Galwan Valley and other areas along the LAC in eastern Ladakh and the overall situation is “stable and ameliorating,” days after the two sides agreed on an expeditious withdrawal of soldiers from all the standoff points.

The remarks by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian came a day after people in New Delhi familiar with the developments said that the Chinese military removed all temporary structures and completed withdrawal of its troops from the face-off site in Hot Springs in eastern Ladakh.

Zhao told a media briefing in Beijing that “following the consensus reached at the commander-level talks, the Chinese and India border troops have been taking effective measures to disengage at the Galwan Valley and other areas in the western sector.”

“The overall situation at the China-India boundary is stable and ameliorating,” he said.

Asked about further talks between the two countries, Zhao said, the two sides will continue to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels, including holding a new round of commander-level talks and the meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs.

“We hope India will work with China towards the same goal to implement consensus reached between the two sides with concrete actions and jointly de-escalate tensions in the border region,” the spokesman said.

Indian Army personnel stands next to an army convoy heading towards the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

India again rejects China’s claim over Galwan Valley

As the first phase of the disengagement neared completion, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, at a media briefing, once again rejected China’s claim over Galwan Valley, but reiterated that India remained convinced of the need for maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas and resolution of differences through dialogue.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said India remained convinced of the need for maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas and resolution of differences through dialogue, but at the same time asserted that the country is committed to ensuring its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

At an online media briefing, he said the Line of Actual Control (LAC) must be strictly respected and observed as it is the basis for peace and tranquillity in border areas.

Srivastava said National Security Advisor Ajit Doval categorically conveyed to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday India’s position on the recent developments along the LAC including in the Galwan valley area.

(With inputs from Abhishek Bhalla, Geeta Mohan and PTI)

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