India, China pull back troops in Galwan Valley in Ladakh


India-China military stand-off: Indian Army and Chinese PLA soldiers have pulled back by two kilometres each along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley area in Ladakh region where 20 Indian soldiers and an unconfirmed number of Chinese soldiers died in a violent face-off last month, according to people familiar with the matter.

According to the sources, the Chinese Army is removing tents and moving back from certain areas of the Galwan Valley, in a first sign of disengagement of troops from the area.

Both Indian Army and Chinese PLA soldiers simultaneously retreated two kilometres on Sunday after intense discussion between the senior officers of both sides. The disengagement between the soldiers of two Asian giants happened as per the agreed terms in the Corps Commander’s meeting, said the people familiar with the matter.

The development cames in the wake of India’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval talks with Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi through a video link on Sunday.

“They had a frank and in-depth exchange of views on the recent developments in the Western Sector of the India-China border areas,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

NSA Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister agreed that both sides should take guidance from consensus of the leaders that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in India-China border areas was essential for development of bilateral relations and that two sides shouldn’t allow differences to become disputes, said the MEA.

“Therefore, they agreed that it was necessary to ensure at the earliest complete disengagement of troops along LAC and de-escalation from India-China border areas for full restoration of peace and tranquillity.”

Indian Army, Chinese PLA begin disengagement in Galwan

According to the ministry, NSA Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also agreed that both sides should complete the ongoing disengagement process along the LAC expeditiously. The two sides should also ensure a phased and stepwise de-escalation in the India-China border areas.

MEA statement on India China troop withdrawal.

MEA statement on India China troop withdrawal.

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“They re-affirmed 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,” MEA said.

“Taking effective measures to ease tensions. There is progress made on the frontline. Effective measures taken to disengage,” the Chinese authorities have been quoted as saying in television reports.

With the retreat by both the sides, a four-kilometer no-man zone has been created, which according to people familiar with the matter, will deprive both sides to see each other’s installations and re-enforcements.

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It is crucial as both the sides, according to people familiar with the development, also agreed not to carry out aerial surveillance of each other’s movement.

PLA has removed tents and structures at PP14 and rearward movement of vehicles of the PLA were seen at general area Galwan, Hotsprings and Gogra, according to reports.

However, the retreat is limited to these areas and not other contentious points along the Line of Actual Control.

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Both sides have re-enforced their presence in the area following the last month’s violent face-off which resulted in the first fatalities involving the two armies in over last 45 years.

The Indian and Chinese armies have been deployed against each other at several places in the Ladakh region. While India has been insisting on restoration of status quo ante in all areas of eastern Ladakh to restore peace and tranquillity in the region, China for the first time has claimed the entire Galwan Valley as its territory.

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On Friday, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a surprise visit to a forward post Nimu in Ladakh region which sent a strong signal of India’s resolve to defend its territory.

In a message aimed at Chinese leadership, Indian leader Narendra Modi categorically stated that the era of ‘expansionism’ was over and this was the time for ‘development’.

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