China’s People’s Liberation Army troops moved back from three contested sites in Ladakh on Monday; the region had witnessed violent hand-to-hand fights between the armies of both the countries.
According to Indian Army sources, Chinese troops withdrew from the general area in the Galwan Valley, Hotsprings and Gogra. Sources revealed that they have pulled down tents and other temporary structures set up at the Galwan River bend, which was the scene of clashes.
“Chinese Army has moved tents, vehicles and troops back 1-2 km from locations where disengagement was agreed upon at Corps Commander level talks,” Indian Army sources said.
They added that Indian soldiers have also withdrawn, and a buffer zone has been created between the troops on both sides.
Indian national television network Doordarshan reports that the Indian Army is monitoring the situation.
The withdrawal comes three days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to a forward post in Ladakh, where he addressed the soldiers. During his address, in an obvious reference to China, Modi said, “the age of expansionism is over and expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back.”
The pull back was done without either side giving up their territorial claims. Both sides had three rounds of Army Commander-level talks and diplomatic engagements, which were focussed on reducing tension along the LAC after the violent faceoff on 15-16 June and the build-up of forces.
The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488 km-long LAC from Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast to Ladakh. While the LAC is mainly a land border in most regions, in Pangong Tso in Eastern Ladakh, it passes through a lake. India controls the western portion of the 45-km long lake, while the rest is under Chinese control. Most of the clashes between the two countries have taken place in the Galwan Valley.