Chinese troops withdraw from some parts along LAC

Disengagement after talks between NSA Ajit Doval and Chinese FM

New Delhi: In the first signs of tensions easing, the Chinese military on Monday began a limited pull-back from a number of friction points in eastern Ladakh, a day after NSA Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi agreed on completing the ongoing disengagement process along the LAC “expeditiously”, government sources and officials said.
Doval and Wang, who are designated ‘Special Representatives’ on Sino-India boundary question, held a telephonic conversation on Sunday during which they had a “frank and in-depth exchange” of views and agreed that a “complete disengagement” of troops at the “earliest” was necessary for full restoration of peace in the border areas, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Monday.
Government sources said Chinese troops removed tents and are pulling back by up to 1.5 km from the area around patrolling point 14 in the Galwan Valley besides starting rearward movement of vehicles and troops in Hot Springs and Gogra.
There were reports that Chinese troops have also removed some tents from areas around Finger 4 in Pangong Tso Lake.
However, the sources said a clear picture will emerge only after a thorough verification is carried out. Sources said the disengagement is taking place as per a decision arrived at during the military talks on June 30 that both sides will create a minimum buffer zone of 3 km in the area around Galwan river, and Indian troops are also moving accordingly.
The Indian Army will carry out a thorough verification of the Chinese pull back, said a source.
In the talks, Doval and Wang re-affirmed that both sides should “strictly respect” and observe the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and should not take any unilateral action to alter the status quo, the MEA said.
The two special representatives agreed to continue their conversations to ensure “full and enduring restoration” of peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas. They also emphasised on not allowing differences to become disputes between the two countries.
In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry also issued a statement which said that Wang and Doval reached “positive common understandings” over easing the current border situation, and underlined the need to act promptly on the consensus reached by their military commanders to complete the disengagement of the front-line troops at the LAC as soon as possible.
It was the first time that Doval and Wang held talks during the ongoing stand-off. The conversation is learnt to have lasted for around two hours.
Government sources said India is strictly monitoring whether China was withdrawing its troops from the friction points, adding that global support to New Delhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strong message during his visit to Ladakh last week may have had some impact on Beijing agreeing to move back its army. In sync with the mutual understanding, India is also likely to bring down the number of troops from certain face-off areas, sources added. (PTI)

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