Chinese military withdraws troops, removes structures in Hot Springs, Gogra

Indian army trucks on way to Ladakh amid tensions with China along the Line of Actual Control. Phtoto: PTI (Representative image).
Chinese military removed temporary infrastructure and continued gradual withdrawal of troops from face-off sites in Hot Springs and Gogra in eastern Ladakh for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, and the Indian Army is keeping a strict vigil on their rearward movement, government sources said.

Gogra and Hot Springs are among the key friction points where the two armies were in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation for the past eight weeks.

The sources said the mutual disengagement of troops at the two friction points is likely to be completed within two days, and that there has been “substantial” withdrawal of forces by Chinese military from the areas.

The disengagement process began on Monday morning after a nearly two-hour telephonic conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday during which they agreed on an expeditious withdrawal of troops from the area. Doval and Wang are special representatives for the boundary talks.

This combination of June 28 (left) and July 6 satellite images provided by Maxar Technologies shows the Galwan Valley along the border between India and China.
The sources said the Indian Army is not lowering its guard in view of the disengagement process in the area and will continue to maintain high-level of alertness to deal with any eventualities. They said the two armies were expected to hold further talks later this week after the first phase of disengagement process is completed.

According to the decisions arrived at corps commander-level talks on June 30, the two sides would create a minimum buffer zone of three kilometre in most of the areas where they were locked in a stand-off.

“There has been substantial withdrawal of Chinese troops from Hot Springs and Gogra. The Chinese military has dismantled temporary infrastructure too in the areas,” said a source.

The Chinese military has already removed tents and withdrawn its personnel from Patrolling Point 14 in Galwan Valley, sources said, adding the Indian Army is carrying out a thorough verification of the Chinese pull-back. On the situation in Pangong Tso, they said a “marginal thinning-out of troops” has been observed in the area.

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