China, on Monday, started a limited pull-back of its troops from friction points in eastern Ladakh as India and China agreed to disengage troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on Sunday.
This agreement between India's National Security Advisor Ajor Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in a telephonic conversation, comes at a time of heightened tension between the two countries.
The troops from both nations have been indulging in an intense stand-off along the LAC. On June 16, the two sides clashed in Galwan valley, leaving 20 Indian army men and an unknown number of Chinese army personnel dead.
PTI quoted government sources saying that the Chinese troops have removed tents and are pulling back by up to 1.5 km from the area around Patrolling Point 14 in the Galwan Valley. They are also moving back vehicles and troops in Hot Springs and Gogra. It also reports that the disengagement were taking place as per the decision arrived at during the military talks on June 30, and that the Indian Army will verify the Chinese pull back. The news agency also quotes sources saying that both sides will create a minimum buffer zone of 3 km in the area around Galwan river, and Indian troops are also moving accordingly.
Why is this important?
For two sides, the deaths in Galwan valley was the first since the clashes in Nathu La in 1967. By engaging in military and diplomatic channels, the two sides have ensured de-escalation.
A statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said Doval and Wang “had a frank and in-depth exchange of views” and that “they agreed that it was necessary to ensure at the earliest complete disengagement of the troops along the LAC and de-escalation from India-China border areas for full restoration of peace and tranquillity.”
In the weeks since the intense stand-off with China on the border and the violent clashes in Galwan valley, India used many tactics to put pressure on China. India stepped up its military presence in the region to counter Chinese troops. Several other nations, like Japan, US and France, backed India's position after the clashes, putting more pressure on China.
In an unprecedented move, the Centre banned 59 Chinese apps, thus sending out a clear message that the stand-off could have economic repercussions as well.
PM Narendra Modi also visited Ladakh on July 3, 2020, and met the Indian troops.In a message aimed at China, he had said that the era of expansionism was over and that India’s determination to protect its territory was “as high as the Himalayas”. He said, “We also know that peace cannot be ushered in by the weak. Only the brave can bring peace.”