Indian and Chinese troops complete disengagement in disputed Himalayan region

Move comes at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to meet President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan this week

In this undated handout photograph released by the Indian Army on February  16, 2021 shows People Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers during military disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at the India-China border in Ladakh. / AFP / INDIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENCE / - / ----EDITORS NOTE---- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / Indian Army" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----------
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Indian and Chinese troops have completed their disengagement from a key stand-off point along the disputed border in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, Indian media reported on Wednesday.

The six-day disengagement process began last week after consensus was reached to restore “peace and tranquility” in the border area during a meeting held by top Indian and Chinese military commanders in July.

Indian media reports, quoting government sources, said the process of disengagement was completed on Tuesday.

Neither New Delhi or Beijing issued statements on the de-escalation, which comes at a time when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet on the sidelines of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, this week.

Ties between the Asian neighbours have hit a low since 2020 after deadly clashes between their troops along the poorly demarcated border —known as the Line of Actual Control —in the Ladakh region.

But meetings between military commanders have continued to resolve the impasse.

Both the countries had agreed to reduce troop deployments on the poorly demarcated border, dismantle infrastructure and restore landforms in the area to pre-standoff positions.

A satellite image taken over Galwan Valley in Ladakh, India, parts of which are contested with China, June 16, 2020, in this handout obtained from Planet Labs Inc. Picture taken June 16, 2020. Mandatory credit PLANET LABS INC/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

At least 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers were killed in the hand-to-hand brawl between the rival troops in June 2020.

The brawl triggered the mobilisation of tens of thousands of soldiers from both sides to the treacherous high-altitude disputed border as diplomatic ties between the nuclear-armed nations, which fought in 1962, froze.

New Delhi claims Chinese troops entered its territory and has demanded that Beijing return its soldiers to their previous position for the relationship to be restored.

New Delhi and Beijing announced the disengagement of troops from the Pangong Lake area in Ladakh in 2021. However, many other military “friction points” remain.

Updated: September 14, 2022, 5:40 AM