Troops have begun disengaging in Galwan: Chinese foreign ministry
China on Tuesday said its troops had begun to disengage from the Galwan Valley in the western sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India, a day after New Delhi and Beijing simultaneously announced their decision to de-escalate two months of tension in the area.
In an official statement issued Monday, China did not specifically mention whether its soldiers had begun to disengage from the Galwan Valley area in eastern Ladakh.
“Recently, according with the consensus reached at the military-ministerial level, the Chinese and India frontier troops have taken effective measures to disengage and ease the tension on the ground in the Galwan Valley and other areas in the western sector of the China-India border and made positive progress,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement to HT.
The ministry was responding to a query from HT on whether China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had begun to withdraw its troops from the areas of friction near the line of actual control (LAC) and the phases and protocols of the disengagement to be followed by Chinese soldiers.
The statement did not share details but acknowledged for the first time that disengagement had begun on the ground.
The ministry said it hoped the disengagement would be done according to the “established plan” decided by the two sides.
“It is hoped that India will work with China in the same direction, implement local arrangements in accordance with the established plan agreed by the two sides and work together to further ease the tension in the border,” the ministry statement in Mandarin said.
The statement referred to the July 5 phone conversation between India’s National Security Advisor AK Doval and Chinese state councilor and foreign minister Wang Yi: Both Doval and Wang are the special representatives for the ongoing boundary talks between the two countries.
During the phone conversation, the statement said: “The two sides stressed the importance of implementing the consensus reached at the military-to-military level of the border troops of the two countries and completing the process of disengagement of the frontline troops of the two sides as soon as possible.”
The move towards a partial de-escalation and disengagement at key friction points in the Ladakh sector of the LAC followed Doval and Wang’s phone conversation on Sunday.
It was also the first interaction between the two SRs since the standoff began in early May.
The military corps commanders had met on June 6, 22 and 30, while the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs had held two virtual meetings on June 5 and 24.
New Delhi and Beijing will closely monitor each other’s disengagement process and levels of withdrawal as both countries cautiously attempt to resolve the latest – and the worst in decades – crisis in bilateral ties.
China is yet to reveal the PLA’s casualty figures but the Indian army lost 20 soldiers in a violent brawl between the border troops of the two countries on the night of June 15. Both sides have amassed large numbers of well-armed troops