India, China complete disengagement in Ladakh’s Gogra-Hot Springs, say reports
Over six days, both the sides halted deployment of soldiers, asked their troops to return and removed all temporary infrastructure.
Indian and Chinese troops on Tuesday completely withdrew their troops from the Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hot Springs, a key standoff point in eastern Ladakh, The Hindu reported.
“Both sides have completed disengagement at PP15 in a phased, coordinated and verified manner, resulting in the return of the troops of both sides to their respective areas,” an unidentified defence official said.
The disengagement was verified through aerial surveillance, according to another official. However, details and modalities of the disengagement were not available.
On September 8, the two sides began the disengagement process after they arrived at a consensus in the 16th round of military talks in July.
Over six days, Indian and Chinese armies agreed to halt deployment, ask their troops to return and remove all temporary infrastructure, The Indian Express reported.
The Ladakh standoff
India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four.
During the 16th round of Corps Commander-level meetings in July, both the countries had agreed to maintain stability on the ground and resolve the problems along the Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of the India-China border areas.
The announcement of disengagement of troops at Gogra-Hot Springs came ahead of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Uzbekistan, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to attend on September 15 and 16.
Disputes across the Indo-China border have been a contentious matter over the years.
In 2017, the Doklam plateau near the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction was the site of a 74-day-long standoff between Indian and Chinese troops.
In July, satellite images from United States-based firm Maxar Technologies revealed that a Chinese village built nine kilometres to the east of the Doklam plateau is completely inhabited, reported NDTV.
In the same month, Beijing also approved the construction of a second highway across the disputed Aksai Chin plateau, where China controls 38,000 square kilometres of land claimed by India.