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The first signs of reduction of tension between India and China were seen on Monday, 6 July, when troops of both countries went back from where they had clashed on 15 June at the Galwan Valley. All tents were uprooted, and troops and materials were taken back in vehicles, The Indian Express reported.
A Government official, on Tuesday, has shared more details of this disengagement with The Hindu, revealing that while China has moved back 2 km from the clash point, India has moved back 1.5 km and further, owning to this, India will not be able to patrol up to PP14 for at least 30 days where till now it was present.
"“Till that bend (PP 14), where the clash took place, India has built a road. The point where the Indian troops have retreated now is the point where the Army used to initiate its patrols. As per the moratorium, India will not be able to patrol the distance now and this will have to be seriously worked out. It cannot be turned into a permanent arrangement.”" - Government official quoted by The Hindu
The two sides have also agreed to have only 30 soldiers each in makeshift tents at new locations, The Indian Express reported, adding that at the second perimeter, which is another one kilometre away, both sides have agreed 50 soldiers will be in tents.
'Disengagement' at Other Flashpoints Too
Meanwhile, NDTV has reported citing sources that following troop withdrawal at PP14, China will further move back their troops from other flashpoints such as Hot Springs, or Patrol Point 15 and Gogra (Patrol Point 17A) within next two days.
“It is the first phase of the disengagement process. Further steps will be taken after the next round of military-level talks,” sources told NDTV.
The new developments have taken place after a telephonic dialogue between National Security Advisor of India Ajit Doval and State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of China HE Wang Yi, over which both sides agreed to disengage and maintain peace.
Pangong Tso ‘More Complicated’
Speaking about another crucial flashpoint, the Pangong Tso area, called the fingers area, where the Chinese had reportedly first tried to change the status quo in May, MHA sources said, “The Fingers area (in Pangong Tso) is more complicated, so that will take time.”
There has been no disengagement in this area at all. The location of the LAC at this area has been disputed by both sides. The Hindu reported, “At Pangong Tso, some tents have been removed from Finger 4 area and the PLA has moved back some distance, said a second government source without elaborating and added that details of the pullback had to be verified on the ground.”
The Indian Express quoted an army officer as saying, “While there seems to be a Chinese intention to step back a bit, removing a couple of tents or a few vehicles going back means nothing.”
Talks at the diplomatic level have also been going on between the two countries to defuse the tensions, which had emerged first in early May.
Verification Carried Out
A verification of this movement has also been carried out. “The verification has been done. A second team went to the PP 14 area today and reverification was done. All structures, from bunkers to tents, have been removed by both sides. There is not a single soldier from either side in the almost two kilometre vicinity of PP 14. There will be no patrolling by either side until both agree,” an official told the daily.
Three Corps Commander-level meetings have taken place since 6 June.
“Now the next one is likely to be scheduled after 10 or 11 July, depending on the progress we make on what we have agreed about Gogra and Hot Springs region,” MHA sources said according to the report.
NSA Doval Dialled China FM on Sunday
On Monday, the Ministry of External Affairs said that special representatives of India and China had a telephonic conversation on recent developments at the India-China border areas on Sunday, 5 July, and the two sides had decided to complete the disengagement process expeditiously.
According to the ministry, National Security Advisor of India Ajit Doval and State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of China HE Wang Yi had a “frank and in-depth exchange of views on the recent developments.”
"The two Special Representatives agreed that both sides should take guidance from the consensus of the leaders that maintenance of peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas was essential for the further development of our bilateral relations and that two sides should not allow differences to become disputes," it added.
Both sides agreed to ensure complete disengagement and de-escalation from the India-China border areas for full restoration of peace and tranquillity, the MEA said.
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