Ahead of Modi-Xi meeting, India, China announce disengagement of troops from LAC hotspot
A week ahead of a possible meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Uzbekistan, the two countries on Thursday announced disengagement of their Army troops from patrolling point (PP) 15 in the area of Gogra-Hotsprings at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the western sector.
The move breaks a year-long stalemate in talks between India and China following the May 2020 standoff in eastern Ladakh. The last troop disengagement on PP 17A at the same Gogra-Hotsprings was announced in August 2021.
‘Peace and tranquility’
In a joint statement issued on Thursday, the two countries stated — “According to the consensus reached in the 16th round of India China Corps Commander Level Meeting, the Indian and Chinese troops in the area of Gogra-Hotsprings (PP 15) have begun to disengage in a coordinated and planned way, which is conducive to the peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”
Soldiers from each side are being withdrawn from PP 15 along with weapons and other equipment and the infrastructure will be dismantled according to a schedule that is being worked out jointly by junior commanders on the ground from the two armies. As per an earlier agreement, the two sides will create buffer zones on both sides of the friction points post disengagement. However, a thin presence is likely to remain for routine patrolling at the LAC.
‘Very positive steps’
Top Indian Army officials described the latest breakthrough as “very positive steps” and insisted that all dialogue mechanisms for further disengagement at other friction points in Demchok and Depsang will be pushed in future to restore complete peace at the LAC.
After the last 16th round of India China Corps Commander Level Meeting at Chushul in July, the two sides had announced to maintain “security and stability on the ground” but sources stated that agreement on PP 15 troops pullout was achieved at that time only. And it was made public on Thursday since consensus on disengagement modalities had to be arrived at, added top Army officials.
Modi and Xi are attending the two-day SCO Summit 2022, beginning on September 15 with suggestions from both sides that the two leaders may meet on the sidelines.
September 08, 2022