Chinese military confirms disengagement of troops in eastern Ladakh

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The Chinese military on Friday confirmed that the troops of China and India 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”, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

Marking a significant forward movement to end the standoff in eastern Ladakh that has lasted for over two years, the Indian and Chinese armies on Thursday announced that they have begun to disengage from the Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings area.

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.

“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 said.

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

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

The joint statement released by the Press Information Bureau, (PIB) in Delhi on Thursday night said “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.”

As per the report, the announcement came around a week ahead of 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 is speculation about a possible meeting between Modi and Xi on the sidelines of the summit though there is no official word on it from either side.

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 said in a statement.

Official sources told PTI in Delhi 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.

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

The sources told PTI 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 while the withdrawal of troops and equipment in Patrolling Point 17 (A) in Gogra took place in August last year.

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 5 May 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas.

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

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

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