China withdraws troops, removes structures from friction points in Ladakh's Galwan Valley, say reports

It was along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh that violent clashes between India and China’s armies on 15 June led to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers.

FP Staff July 06, 2020 13:28:02 IST
China withdraws troops, removes structures from friction points in Ladakh's Galwan Valley, say reports

In the first signs of de-escalation of the conflict along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) was seen removing tents and moving back troops from some parts of the Galwan Valley on Monday, government sources told PTI.

The PLA started removing tents and structures at Patrolling Point 14 after an agreement between the corps commanders on both sides. Similar movement was also seen at the Gogra Hot Spring area. With the Indian forces also retreating, a buffer zone equidistant from both the sides of the LAC has been created.

Even though troops and tents were moved back by one or two kilometres at some friction points, Chinese heavy armoured vehicles are still present in some areas along the Galwan river, LiveMint reported.

Disengagement will involve rival troops pulling back a few hundred metres from face-off sites, with further retreat taking place in phases as the complex plan progresses on a verifiable basis on the ground every 72 hours by both sides, Hindustan Times reported.

It was along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh that violent clashes between India and China’s armies on 15 June led to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers. The Chinese side did not release details of casualties suffered. Recent satellite images had indicated that the Chinese had illegally trespassed 423 metres into Indian territory in the Galwan Valley, with a significant consolidation in Ladakh's Pangong Lake region, according to NDTV.

The bitter stand-off between both the sides over their claim on multiple locations along the LAC in eastern Ladakh showed no signs of abatement for seven weeks despite several rounds of diplomatic and military talks.

The first agreement towards de-escalating tensions in the region, reached on 6 June after a meeting held in Moldo between top military commanders, was derailed after the 15 June clash. In a meeting between senior military leaders on 30 June, India reiterated its demand for "expeditious, phased and stepwise" de-escalation as a "priority" in key areas including Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley and the strategic Depsang plains, apart from thinning the military build-up in the region.

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