China ‘withdrawing troops’ from disputed border: Indian officials

  • Indian and Chinese troops have begun a partial disengagement from their positions along the disputed Himalayan border region after a tense stand-off lasting nearly nine weeks, sources in the Indian establishment told local media on 6 Jul 20.
  • Indian officials, according to Bloomberg, said the People’s Liberation Army was seen removing tents and structures, while China had also begun moving its vehicles back at several points along the 3,488km undemarcated border known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • “There seems to be an attempt made to withdraw troops and pull down tents from the Chinese side. We need to see whether this is sustained,” said a military source.
  • Sources refused to spell out whether disengagement had been occurring at all the points where the troops have been locked in the stand-off along the LAC.
  • Reports in the Indian media said the disengagement was limited to a few points like the Galwan river valley – close to Chinese-controlled Aksai Chin – and the Hot Springs area, which is in north-eastern Ladakh and was the site of a bloody military conflict between Indian and Chinese personnel in 1959 that led to the deaths of 10 Indians.
  • For India, these points are crucial because of their proximity to the all-weather Darbuk-Shyok-Dault Beg Oldie road that connects Leh to the strategically important Karakoram Pass which separates China’s Xinjiang region from Ladakh.
  • On 5 Jul 20, Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had a phone conversation in which they agreed the “earliest complete disengagement” of troops along the LAC was necessary for “full restoration of peace and tranquillity”.

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