File image of Indian soldiers in Ladakh | By special arrangement
File image of Indian soldiers in Ladakh | Representational image | By special arrangement
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New Delhi: The Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) “completely moved out” of the Indian side of the Galwan Valley area Monday as India and China began disengagement in Ladakh after a 61-day intense stand-off, ThePrint has learnt. However, sources said the Indian Army remained cautious about sounding too optimistic.

While the Chinese have initiated disengagement steps at Gogra and in the Hot Spring Area, they continue to hold fort at Finger 4 at Pangong Lake. However, sources said the “movement of a few men and vehicles backwards was noticed” at Pangong Lake, where Chinese soldiers had come up to 8 km inside Indian territory. Government sources described the movement as “non-tangible”.

The disengagement exercise launched Monday came a day after the special representatives of India and China, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, respectively, held a detailed phone conversation where they agreed on the “earliest complete disengagement of the troops along the LAC and de-escalation from India-China border areas for full restoration of peace and tranquility”.

This is the second attempt at disengagement — the first followed a meeting between corps commander-level officers on 6 June but culminated in the 15 June Galwan Valley clash, which killed 20 Indian soldiers, after the Chinese refused to fulfil their part of the agreement. 

The whole process, sources said, will be long-drawn-out.

Sources underlined that it will be “premature” to say the stand-off is over as “any unfavourable” incident like that of 15 June can take place until “tempers on both sides cool down completely”. The leadership on both sides, the sources said, will continue to remain in contact 24×7.

Both India and China will begin a 72-hour verification process to make sure each side has fulfilled the commitment before the next round of disengagement is initiated.

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‘Buffer zone’

Ladakh constitutes the western sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Several spots along the border — Galwan Valley, Depsang Plains and Hot Spring — have been sites of stand-offs since April-May in light of Chinese incursions. 

As part of the fresh disengagement, China has moved back by about 1.5-2 km in various locations, while the pullback by India is a “little less” since Indians were anyway in their own territory, sources said. 

Both sides have agreed to what is being described as a “buffer zone”, which would be an area where neither side carries out any construction or patrolling activity and would differ from location to location, the sources said.

This means the Chinese troops will be closer to the LAC than Indian soldiers, and it will be some time before India can resume its normal patrols up to Patrol Point 14 in Galwan Valley, and patrol points 15, 17 and 17A in the Hot Spring area.

No specific time has been agreed upon regarding how long the buffer zone will exist, the sources added, saying it is a confidence-building measure for restoration of status quo as of early April.

The disengagement comes at a time when the flow in the Galwan river has increased due to snowmelt, according to inputs, making it difficult for both India and China to sustain troop build-up in the area.

At the Galwan Valley, government sources told ThePrint, the PLA has moved out completely from the Indian side of the LAC into their own territory.

The pullback region included the area called Y-Junction, which is located 1.5 km from the LAC. The Chinese had intruded into this area and built observation posts and numerous tents, the sources said.

The eventual gameplan of Chinese incursions in the Galwan Valley seemed to be to prevent India from carrying out any new construction beyond the confluence of the Shyok-Galwan river.

The Chinese also sought to restrict Indian patrols to the same point, located 4.5 km from the LAC, rather than until Patrol Point 14, which is 500 metres from the border (according to the 1960 claim line of China) and marks the status quo before the PLA incursions began in May.

In Hot Spring area and at Gogra post, the sources added, the Chinese had started dismantling tents and moving back men and vehicles from inside the Indian side of the LAC.

“The process will most likely be completed by tomorrow. Here, as per the schedule, they are supposed to move back about two km. Once they do this, they will be on their side of the LAC,” a source said.

Giving details about the Pangong Lake area, where the Chinese have occupied areas up to Finger 4, about 8 km inside Indian territory that starts from Finger 8, sources said there has “not been any tangible movement”.

“There has been some movement in terms of few vehicles and men going back from Finger 4. However, they continue to hold the position,” another source said.


Also Read: From Nathu La to Galwan, India has been trapped in reaction-mode to China’s aggression


‘Doval and Wang hold cordial talks’ 

Diplomatic- and military-level talks aimed at resolving border tensions had been underway between India and China since May. On Sunday, a telephone conversation was held between Doval and Wang, the special representatives appointed by India and China to discuss boundary-related matters.

Over an hour-long “cordial” phone call, the two are said to have held “a frank and in-depth exchange of views” on the border standoff. 

According to sources, both the representatives discussed the Galwan Valley clash separately and assessed the reasons that led to it.

Their talks were “based on the commitment” reached by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the two informal summits of Wuhan (2018) and Mamallapuram (2019) when they vowed that differences should not be allowed to become disputes.

“They agreed that it was necessary to ensure at the earliest complete disengagement of the troops along the LAC and de-escalation from India-China border areas for full restoration of peace and tranquillity,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement Monday. “In this regard they further agreed that both sides should complete the ongoing disengagement process along the LAC expeditiously.” 

The two also agreed to the fact that it is critical to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas and that it is “essential for the further development of our bilateral relations”. 

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 Defence Cooperation Agreement.

The two representatives also decided that “both sides should strictly respect and observe the Line of Actual Control and should not take any unilateral action to alter the status quo and work together to avoid any incident in the future that could disturb peace and tranquillity in border areas”.

The special representative talks had been under consideration ever since External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Wang held a phone call on 17 June, sources told ThePrint.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement on the Doval-Wang dialogue that both sides “should pay great attention to the current complex situation facing China-India bilateral relations, and work together to overcome and turn it around as soon as possible”. 

“Not long ago, what happened in the western part of the border between China and India in the Galwan Valley is very clear. China will continue to effectively defend its territorial sovereignty and the border area and peace,” the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday. 

“Both sides should adhere to the strategic assessment that instead of posing threats, the two countries provide each other with development opportunities,” it added.

This is an updated version of the report


Also Read: 20 days since soldiers’ death in Galwan, ‘patriot’ Ajay Devgn decides it’s movie material


 

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10 Comments Share Your Views

10 COMMENTS

  1. The Galwan valley was a good wake up call for our Govt to realise where we stand if there is a aggression leading to a battle;It seemed like defence minister was on the last minute shopping to Russia & France; The media too busy engaging political debates invoking frustration on us the public ,@ their TRP. Our leaders debating or quarrelling over the same topic ,with the news anchor trying to act as brave heart with his voice control .Why does this media not make us aware ;that when these Chinese will attack us they are not going to differentiate or be partial to any political outfits ,BJP or Congress,they are going to shoot or bombard us all.So we need to unite as Indians at such external affected situation ,wake the govt ,shake the media & boost our real Brave Hearts on the border.We must be ready to sacrifice even ourselves & only that will deter the chinese from going on a full scale war; cause now if there is war ,there will be no winners;

  2. Chinese and Indian troops have on 6 July and after reportedly withdrawn 2 kms at LAC Ladakh in terms agreed upon earlier.
    According to news reports , both Indian and Chinese are reported to have withdraw in LAC in Ladakh 2 kms in terms agreed upon at corps Commander-level talks. India has also begun to disengage process in terms of agreement. However , Indian army is said to be monitoring the situation with caution. This is a welcome development if all follows well. Only few days back , war talks were making discussion in the news media. In this context , it may be apt to refer readers to following predictions of this Vedic astrology writer in article – “ Predictions for coming year 2020 by kushal kumar” – published last year 2019 on 10 October at theindiapost.com/articles/predictions-for-coming-year-2020-by-kushal-kumar/.
    “ Now something encouraging. The second half of the year from July to Movember 2020 looks to be addressing the setbacks or delay of the past , particularly those of first half. Some trends of success or forward movement in economic sector , political issues are likely. Cooperation or support of global powers may be seen coming. Some historic political decision is likely. The obstructive forces may weaken to some extent. Like the previous year , ACCEPTANCE BY THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY OF INDIA’S POSITIVE ROLE IN WORLD AFFAIRS MAY BE IN THE NEWS. IT SEEMS THE SECOND HALF IN 2020 CAN BOOST UP THE AMBITIOUS SIDE OF THE NATION”.

  3. Not satisfied….. We backed 2 kms in our teritory. Instead lost the right to patrol upto finger 14 the clash site which we used to pattol normally.Afyer all
    What hurry was with Indian govt to accept such
    Agreement? Chinease succeded in their tactice. Two steps minus one step =1 step towadds west……still we are satisfied ,sitting almost 6 km away from LAC and letting them board at just 500 meters on LAC. Shame to our poltics.

  4. Do not forget 1962. In July China left Galwan only to come back after three months. China can not be trusted. India should continue with its efforts to build infrastructure as per their plans and also reduce trade volume systematically to a low tolerable level. Further India should keep its intelligence active throughout the border with China &Pakistan and also keep a close watch on Shia Chen. India should also prepare for snow and mountain warfare in a big way. India should also build up capacity to go for electronic warfare and resist China’s efforts to Biological Warfare, Cyber Warfare,Germ Warfare,and Hydro logical warfare.

  5. From the time this issue came into media, there have been commentator of all kinds. But the most disappointing were the some generals and colonels who could be seen bubbling every time there was a set back of some kind to India. One wonders what could have been bugging them to go down to levels of rejoicing a national set back, publicly on only by words but by expressions and body language on the tvs.
    We have not been able to resolve the Chinese and Pakistani problems for 70 years, all kinds of dispensations have tried various approaches, with little success so unless a new and different approach is tried out the result is unlikely to be different.
    Even now the set back is only arrested and setting is right is probably a long way off. Hope sanity will prevail and we all would talk in the same language in absence of any signs of vested interests.

  6. You have written a big story but can you show us the Line of Actual Control – duly drawn on the map ?

  7. China not worthy to be trusted, India should change the foreign policy instead of internal political difference Indian politics should be economic based not religious based surely we must stand united against any challenge or calamity

  8. “Both sides should maintain and observe the LAC”. How will you do that, if both countries have different perception on the LAC?

  9. It remains to be seen though, whether any Salami Slicing takes place in any of these areas, and whether India gives into this Chinese trick at any place, especially the Fingers Area, where the Chinese seem to be most adamant.

  10. Not for one moment do I believe this report. Nor should anyone else… Why is only this site saying chinese army have withdrawn totally from galwan? All other news media including the infamous ndtv says the enemy has moved back only partially.
    Does the print now mean to say next that since chinese have gone from galwan India should also withdraw? And if not, then India will be shown as aggressor now? Is this the future chinese stand that this site has already started building a base for?
    We all know how your lead editor is an apologist for the pakistan and china.

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