INDIA: As a result of ‘sustained talks’ between nuclear-armed neighbors, India and China, the countries have relented to pull back troops from part of their disputed Himalayan border. On Thursday, India’s defense minister Rajnath Singh called the stance as a breakthrough since the fatal clash in June.
Praising the armed forces, Singh commented that the nation will always remember the sacrifices made by the brave soldiers of India which have been the foundation of the disengagement at Pangong Tso.
Chinese Ministry of National Defence spokesperson said that a “synchronized and organized disengagement” from Pangong Tso lake had started.
In a statement, Colonel Wu Qian said that the disengagement was in respect to a consensus reached by both sides during military commander-level talks.
Conflict between India and China
Singh said that China had illegally occupied a massive area of 38,000sq km (14,700sq miles) of the Indian territory and mobilized a large number of troops and armaments along the border in Ladakh. Meanwhile, China has disputed any such claims.
Satellite images from June 2020 suggested that China had built new bunkers, tents, and storage units for military hardware overlooking the Galwan river.
The June standoff, faced with sticks and clubs, and not guns – was the first fatal confrontation between the two sides since 1975. In January this year, the two armies again met in a clash along the border in the north-east in India’s Sikkim state, leaving soldiers of both sides injured.
The disputed border – called the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – is poorly demarcated. The presence of rivers, lakes, and snowcaps can cause the line to shift. The soldiers of India and China, representing two of the world’s largest armies – often face each other at crossroads.
Singh has assured that India had not conceded anything. He also added that there were some outstanding issues of deployment and patrolling at some other points along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh, which would be the focus of further discussions with the Chinese side.
Last year in August India blamed China for provoking military tensions at the border twice within a week. China dismissed both charges and accused India of the stand-off.