India and China have agreed to disengage in eastern Ladakh’s Gogra area after commander level talks occurred on July 31, the Indian government said on Friday.
“The two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on resolution of remaining areas related to disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of India-China border areas,” a statement from the Centre said. “The troops in this [Gogra] area have been in a face-off situation since May last year.”
In May 2020, Chinese troops clashed with the Indian Army at several points along the Line of Actual Control. India and China do not share a defined and demarcated border. Instead, there is the Line of Actual Control, which stretches thousands of kilometres from Ladakh all the way to Arunachal Pradesh.
Tensions between India and China escalated further after the violent face-off on June 15, 2020. The two countries have held several rounds of military and diplomatic talks to resolve the matter.
“As per the agreement, both sides have ceased forward deployments in this [Gogra] area in a phased, coordinated and verified manner,” the Indian government said. “The disengagement process was carried out over two days i.e. 04 and 05 August 2021. The troops of both sides are now in their respective permanent bases.”
India said that all temporary structures and other “allied infrastructure” set up in the area by the two countries had been taken down and “mutually verified”. “The landform in the area has been restored by both sides to pre-stand off period,” the central government said.
The Indian government added that the agreement reached on Friday ensured that the Line of Actual Control in the Gogra area would be “strictly” maintained and “respected by both sides” without any unilateral change in status. The Centre said that another “sensitive area of face-off” had been resolved through the talks.
“Both sides have expressed commitment to take the talks forward and resolve the remaining issues along the LAC in the Western Sector,” the Centre said. “The Indian Army along with ITBP [Indo-Tibetan Border Police] is totally committed to ensure the sovereignty of the nation and maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western Sector.”
Last week, the Indian Army and the Chinese military had said that the 12th round of Corps Commanders meeting was constructive but they had not reached an agreement for disengagement at friction areas of Gogra and Hot Springs in eastern Ladakh.
On July 14, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe. They discussed the outstanding matters between the two countries along the Line of Actual Control.