Ladakh Standoff: India, China To Move Troops Back From Gogra-Hotsprings In Next 3 Days

Ladakh Standoff: India, China To Move Troops Back From Gogra-Hotsprings In Next 3 Days

New Delhi: Both Indian Army and China’s People Liberation Army (PLA) on Friday confirmed that troops from both end have begun the process of disengagement from the Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings area of eastern Ladakh in a “coordinated and planned way” and the process will be completed in the next three days, news agency PTI qouted External Affairs Ministry (EAM) as saying. 

The development comes as a significant forward movement to end the standoff in eastern Ladakh that has lasted for over two years.

Gogra-Hotsprings Patrolling Point 15 is the place where the two sides have been locked in a standoff for over two years.

“It has been agreed that all temporary structures and other allied infrastructure created in the area by both sides will be dismantled and mutually verified. The landforms in the area will be restored to the pre-standoff period by both sides,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in response to queries on the issue.

Reportedly, Indian Army and PLA have also agreed to hold further rounds of talks to resolve remaining issues and restore peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in India-China border areas.

“It has been agreed that all temporary structures and other allied infrastructure created in the area by both sides will be dismantled and mutually verified. The landforms in the area will be restored to the pre-standoff period by both sides,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in response to queries on the issue.

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“Since then, the two sides had maintained regular contact to build on the progress achieved during the talks to resolve the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector of India-China border areas,” he said.

“The two sides have agreed to cease forward deployments in this area in a phased, coordinated and verified manner, resulting in the return of the troops of both sides to their respective areas,” he added.

In a statement issued earlier in Beijing, the Chinese defence ministry said the Chinese and Indian troops in the area of Jianan Daban have begun to disengage in a coordinated and planned way.

“On 8th September, 2022, according to the consensus reached in the 16th Round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting, the Chinese and Indian troops in the area of Jianan Daban have begun to disengage in a coordinated and planned way, which is conducive to the peace and tranquility in the border areas”, a Chinese defence ministry press release issued on Friday informed, as quoted by news agency PTI.

PTI reported Indian officials as confirming that the Jianan Daban area referred to in China’s military press release is the same as Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings area mentioned by the Indian press release issued on Thursday.

Though it is a Joint Statement, the two sides have referred to the area with different names.

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The joint statement released in Delhi on Thursday night stated: “On 8th September 2022, according to the consensus reached in the 16th round of India China Corps Commander Level Meeting, the Indian and Chinese troops in the area of Gogra-Hotsprings (PP-15) have begun to disengage in a coordinated and planned way, which is conducive to the peace and tranquility in the border areas.”

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The announcement came around a week before the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Uzbekistan which is expected to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping among other leaders of the grouping.

There are rumours about a possible meeting between PM Modi and Chinese President Xi on the sidelines of the summit and an official word on it from either side is awaited.

Disengagement Process In Gogra-Hotsprings Area

The beginning of the disengagement process in the Gogra-Hotsprings area is an outcome of the 16th round of high-level military talks in July, the two armies mentioned in a statement.

PTI reported official sources in Delhi as saying that the withdrawal of troops from Patrolling Point 15 (PP-15) began on Thursday morning and the local commanders from both sides are working out the modalities for the subsequent measures.

Ground commanders of both sides held a series of negotiations on the nitty-gritty of the disengagement process after the 16th round of Corps Commander-level talks.

The PTI sources informed that India will keep pressing for the resolution of pending issues in the remaining friction points of Depsang and Demchok.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.

The disengagement in the Pangong Lake area had taken place in February last year and the withdrawal of troops and equipment in Patrolling Point 17 (A) in Gogra took place in August last year.

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The 16th round of military talks was held 10 days after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Bali, Indonesia.

The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas.

Both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.

India has been consistently maintaining that peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) were important for the overall development of bilateral ties. The two militaries held 16 rounds of Corps Commander-level talks to resolve the standoff.

Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive sector.

(With Agency Inputs)