India, China to complete disengagement in Gogra-Hotsprings in Ladakh by Sep 12: MEA
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday said that India and China will complete the disengagement process in the Gogra-Hotsprings area in eastern Ladakh by September 12.
“The sixteenth round of talks between the Corps Commanders of India and China was held at Chushul Moldo Meeting Point on 17 July 2022. Since then, the two sides had maintained regular contact to build on the progress achieved during the talks to resolve the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector of India-China border areas,” the MEA said in its statement.
“As a result, both sides have now agreed on disengagement in the area of Gogra-Hot Springs (PP-15). As per the agreement, the disengagement process in this area started on September 8 at 0830 hrs and will be completed by 12 September 2022. The two sides have agreed to cease forward deployments in this area in a phased. coordinated and verified manner, resulting in the return of the troops of both sides to their respective areas,” the statement read.
Taking talks forward
The response from the ministry came a day after the Indian and Chinese armies announced that they have begun to disengage from the Gogra-Hotsprings Patrolling Point 15, where the two sides have been locked in a standoff for over two years. India and China have also agreed to take the talks forward and resolve remaining issues and restore peace and tranquility along LAC, the MEA added.
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) September 9, 2022
“It has been agreed that all temporary structures and other allied infrastructure created in the area by both sides will be dismantled and mutually verified. The landforms in the area will be restored to the pre-standoff period by both sides,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in response to queries on the issue.
No unilateral change in status quo
The MEA also said that the agreement ensures the LAC in this area will be strictly observed and respected by both sides, and that there will be no unilateral change in status quo.
Though there have been breakthroughs on both Galwan Valley and the banks of Pangong Lake further south in Ladakh, Chinese soldiers are still believed to hold large swathes of Indian territory to the north in the Depsang plains, a NDTV report said.
The disengagement in Pangong Lake area had taken place in February last year while the withdrawal of troops and equipment in Patrolling Point 17 (A) in Gogra took place in August last year.
The development comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Uzbekistan visit for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, or SCO, summit. Chinese President Xi Jinping will also attend the two-day SCO Summit, where PM Modi is going.