Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 2
India and China have agreed to pull back troops from one of the friction points — called PP 17-A, also referred to as Gogra — along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
The impasse over another friction point — PP 15, also referred to as Hot Springs — will need further discussions as the LAC claims of both sides differ and overlap.
The 832-km LAC in Ladakh is undefined on the ground and both sides have claims and counterclaims. Sources confirmed to The Tribune that the mutual disengagement from PP 17-A was expected to be physically implemented over the next 3-4 days. The disengagement at this point would entail increasing the distance between fully armed troops of either side, it’s like creating a “wider buffer zone” to prevent any flare-up. Currently, tanks, guns, missile launchers and troops are lined up within striking distance of each other on the Ladakh plateau, which is at an altitude of 14,000 ft. The Gogra disengagement was agreed upon at the 12th round of India-China Corps Commander-level talks held at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on July 31. There was no discussion on disengaging from the Depsang Bulge, a 972-sq km plateau.
Disengagement over next 3-4 days
Disengagement from PP 17-A (Gogra) is expected to be physically implemented over the next 3-4 days
It will entail increasing the distance between both armies to create a ‘wider buffer zone’ to prevent any incident
Joint statement released by MoD
The two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on resolution of remaining areas…. They agreed to resolve these remaining issues in an expeditious manner in accordance with the existing agreements
The cautiously worded joint statement released by the Ministry of Defence on Monday said: “They (the two sides) agreed to resolve these remaining issues in an expeditious manner in accordance with the existing agreements and protocols and maintain the momentum of dialogue and negotiations.”
In the past China has gone back on agreements it has made since the military standoff started in May 2020, hence there appears to be no official announcement on the pullback, for now, the sources said.
The joint statement said: “The two sides noted that this round of meeting was constructive, which further enhanced mutual understanding.” India and China have agreed that they will continue their effective efforts in ensuring stability along the LAC and jointly maintain peace and tranquillity.
This round of meeting was held following the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of India and China on July 14 at Dushanbe and the 22nd meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) held on June 25.
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