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New Delhi: Indian and Chinese troops have begun disengaging from the Gogra-Hotsprings border area of Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a joint statement issued by the two governments said on Thursday.
India said disengagement is in a coordinated and planned way and is meant to keep border peace. The consensus to disengaged was reached at the 16th round of the Corps Commander Level military discussions, according to the statement.
The announcement comes ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Uzbekistan on September 17, which both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend. There is speculation that the two leaders will meet at the Summit. The last time Modi and Xi met was at the BRICS summit in Brazil, in November 2019.
Depsang now remains the only flashpoint where troops of the two countries are engaged in a face-off in the eastern sector of the LAC in Ladakh which began in mid-2020, after the Indian Army objected to the Peoples Liberation Army’s incursions into Indian territory. In June 2020, the two armies were engaged in a violent clash that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and at least three Chinese troops.
Both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry to the LAC.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.
Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the sensitive sector.
Since the standoff along the LAC began, bilateral relations between the two countries have plummeted.