Troop disengagement conducive to peace at Sino-India border: China

Published on Sep 09, 2022 11:34 AM IST

The Chinese defence ministry’s brief statement on the disengagement linked it to the 16th round of military talks conducted at the level of the India-China Corp Commanders, which was held in July at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Indian side

Indian army soldiers are seen atop a vehicle on a highway leading to Ladakh, at Gagangeer in Jammu & Kashmir’s Ganderbal district. (REUTERS)
Indian army soldiers are seen atop a vehicle on a highway leading to Ladakh, at Gagangeer in Jammu & Kashmir’s Ganderbal district. (REUTERS)

BEIJING: China on Friday confirmed that the disengagement process of frontline troops had begun from Patrol Point-15 (Gogra-Hotsprings) area in eastern Ladakh, saying that the withdrawal of troops is conducive for peace and tranquillity along the Sino-India border.

The Chinese defence ministry’s brief statement on the disengagement linked it to the 16th round of military talks conducted at the level of the India-China Corp Commanders, which was held in July at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Indian side.

“On 8th September, 2022, according to the consensus reached in the 16th Round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting, the Chinese and Indian troops in the area of Jianan Daban have begun to disengage in a coordinated and planned way, which is conducive to the peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” the Chinese defence ministry statement, which was released both in Chinese and English on Friday morning, said.

The “Jianan Daban” area mentioned in the Chinese statement is the same as PP-15 or Gogra-Hotsprings, mentioned in the Indian official statement on disengagement released on Thursday evening.

According to the joint statement released after the 16th round of military talks in July, which was held after a gap of four months, the two sides had “...reaffirmed that the resolution of remaining issues would help in restoration of peace and tranquillity along the LAC (line of actual control) in the Western Sector and enable progress in bilateral relations.”

“In the interim, the two sides agreed to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector,” it added.

Interestingly, China had said in March, for the first time in an exclusive statement to HT, that soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had disengaged in the Hot Spring area, a claim which had been questioned by the Indian side.

The Chinese foreign ministry told HT that China is working closely with India to reach an acceptable solution to the standoff in eastern Ladakh “as soon as possible”, and claimed that troop disengagement has taken place at Galwan Valley, Pangong Lake and Hot Spring.

Not all areas of contention at Hot Spring had been cleared, people familiar with the matter had then said in New Delhi, without going into details. They had said the last round of disengagement was done by pulling back frontline troops from Gogra or patrolling point 17A during August 4-5, 2021.

Until the statement in March, China had only officially acknowledged the withdrawal of troops from the Pangong Lake area in February 2021 and from Galwan Valley the year before.

The Chinese government and PLA remained silent when India announced the disengagement of troops at Gogra in August 2021.

New Delhi has made it repeatedly clear to Beijing that complete disengagement and de-escalation at all friction points on the LAC are essential for bilateral ties to get back on track.

China has argued the boundary dispute should not define the entire bilateral relationship and the two countries should move forward on issues such as trade, a bilateral policy track that has been rejected by the Indian government.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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