New Delhi: Indian and Chinese troops will complete the disengagement process from patrolling point-15 (PP15) at the Gogra-Hot Springs area in eastern Ladakh by 12 September, the Ministry of External Affairs said Friday.
MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “The sixteenth round of talks between the Corps Commanders of India and China was held at Chushul Moldo Meeting Point on 17 July, 2022. 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.”
“As a result, both sides have now agreed on disengagement in the area of Gogra-Hot Springs (PP-15)…As per the agreement, the disengagement process in this area started on 08 September 2022 at 0830 hrs and will be completed by 12 September 2022,” he added.
The development comes a day after India announced that both New Delhi and Beijing have decided to remove their troops from the Gogra-Hotsprings area along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, and bring them back to their original positions.
This assumes significance in the backdrop of a probable meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan next week.
LAC will be ‘strictly observed & respected by both sides’
“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,” said Bagchi.
He added, “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 stand-off period by both sides.”
The MEA spokesperson said the current disengagement agreement also ensures that the LAC in this area will be “strictly observed and respected by both sides, and that there will be no unilateral change in status quo”.
“With the resolution of stand-off at PP-15, both sides mutually agreed to take the talks forward and resolve the remaining issues along LAC and restore peace and tranquility in India-China border areas,” he said.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has been seeking the withdrawal of Indian troops from PP-15 fearing they could choke its access to the Galwan valley.