India and China, on Thursday, announced that their armies have begun to disengage from Patrolling Point-15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings area of Eastern Ladakh, marking a step forward to end the standoff ongoing since May 2020.
The move comes ahead of next week’s Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan, which both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are attending.
Neither side has so far confirmed if the two leaders would hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the summit, who haven’t spoken since a November 2019 meeting during the BRICS Summit in Brasilia and the beginning of the standoff in April 2020.
“On September 08, 2022, according to the consensus reached in the 16th round of India China Corps Commander Level Meeting, the Indian and Chinese troops in the area of Gogra-Hotsprings (PP-15) have begun to disengage in a coordinated and planned way, which is conducive to the peace and tranquility in the border areas,” the two sides said in a joint statement issued on Thursday.
The consensus was reached at the Corps Commander level and the ground commanders on both sides have worked out the modalities which are now being implemented, a defence official said, The disengagement began today morning and is underway, the official said adding further details on the modalities are awaited.
The 16th round of talks was held on July 17, 2022, at the Chushul border personnel meeting point on the Indian side.
As per the understanding reached earlier on disengagement, a buffer zone is to be created at the friction points once troops are withdrawn by both sides and new patrolling norms are to be worked out after complete disengagement and de-escalation.