Indian, Chinese militaries to carry out verification of disengagement process in eastern Ladakh
New Delhi: Indian and Chinese armies are expected to carry out a joint verification to assess the implementation of the disengagement process once the dismantling of temporary infrastructure and withdrawal of troops by China are completed in the friction points in eastern Ladakh, people familiar with the development said on Wednesday.
They said the two militaries are set to hold extensive talks on finalising modalities for restoring normalcy and bringing back peace and tranquillity in the region after the verification of the disengagement exercise is completed.
The mutual disengagement of troops from the standoff points has been undertaken as a measure to ease the situation in the region and the larger focus would be to ensure the total restoration of status quo ante in all areas of the region, they said.
As per the mutual understanding, neither side will carry out any patrolling in the friction points till modalities for restoration of peace and tranquillity are thrashed out.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held “a frank and in-depth exchange of views” on Sunday to de-escalate tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The Chinese military began pulling back of troops from a number of friction points from Monday morning.
The Chinese military has already withdrawn troops from Galwan Valley and Hot Springs, while the pull back is likely to be over in Gogra on Thursday.
Military sources said Indian Army will continue to maintain its aggressive posturing along the Line of Actual Control till the Chinese side cuts down on its significant build up in its rear bases along the LAC, the de-facto border between India and China.
Both sides have brought in thousands of additional troops and weaponry including tanks and artillery guns to their rear bases as part of a mega build up following the face-off that began on May 5.
“There is a trust factor now. We will not lower our guard at all,” said a senior military official on the condition of anonymity.
The Indian and Chinese armies are locked in the bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last eight weeks. The tension escalated manifold after the Galwan Valley clash.
Both sides have held several rounds of diplomatic and military talks in the last few weeks to ease tension in the region. However, there was no visible sign of any end to the standoff till Sunday evening.
Sources said the breakthrough was achieved at the Doval-Wang meeting.
On June 30, the Indian and Chinese armies held the third round of Lt General-level talks during which both sides agreed on an “expeditious, phased and step wise” de-escalation as a “priority” to end the standoff.
In the talks on June 22, the two sides arrived at a “mutual consensus” to “disengage” from all the friction points in eastern Ladakh.
The first round of the Lt General talks was held on June 6 during which both sides finalised an agreement to disengage gradually from all the standoff points beginning with Galwan Valley.
However, the situation deteriorated following the Galwan Valley clashes as the two sides significantly bolstered their deployments in most areas along the LAC.
On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to Ladakh during which he said the era of expansionism is over and that the history is proof that “expansionists” have either lost or perished, in comments which were seen as a clear message to China that India is not going to back off and would deal with the situation with a firm hand.
Tensions had escalated in eastern Ladakh around two months back after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on May 5 and 6. The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 9.