Indian and Chinese troops have started to disengage from one of the “friction points” along the disputed Himalayan Ladakh region, after an agreement to restore “peace and tranquillity” on the frontier.
India’s Defence Ministry said on Thursday that disengagement by troops from both sides began at the Patrolling Pillar in the Gogra-Hotspring region, after consensus reached through the 16th round of Corps Commander Level meetings between India and China in July.
“The Indian and Chinese troops in the area of Gogra-Hotsprings (PP-15) have begun to disengage in a co-ordinated and planned way, which is conducive to the peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” a joint statement released by India’s Ministry of Defence said.
Military commanders' held a "frank" exchange of views at the meeting to resolve the border standoff in the Himalayas that has strained the bilateral ties between the nuclear-armed nations, the countries said.
Diplomatic relations between the neighbouring powers have remained frosty since the 2020 deadly border clashes in Himalayan Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control, as the frontier is known.
At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the hand-to-hand brawls between the rival troops, with Beijing saying four of its soldiers were also killed in the clashes in June 2020.
The violence led to the stationing of tens of thousands of soldiers from both sides at the treacherous high-altitude disputed border, the largest contingents since they fought a war in 1962.
The South Asian nation has maintained that Chinese troops entered its territory, but Beijing contests India’s claims.
While the disengagement from the points of confrontation have started, New Delhi accuses Beijing's forces of occupying traditional patrolling areas of Indian forces in the Depsang Plains and Charding Nala regions on the LAC.
Depsang Plains is a tabletop plateau located at an altitude of about 5,000 metres.
According to New Delhi, China's People’s Liberation Army has infiltrated about 18 kilometres inside Indian territory.
The Chinese have also erected tents on the Indian side of Charding Nala in Demchok, India says. Beijing has constantly refused to accept the argument that the areas are part of Indian territory.