The one-km withdrawal by China at Ladakh’s Galwan Valley came after special representatives of India and China agreed to disengage, “take guidance from the consensus of leaders” and “not allow differences to become disputes”. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, who had a telephonic conversation on Sunday, also agreed that both sides should “strictly respect and observe” the Line of Actual Control — the de facto border between India and China — and should not take any unilateral action to alter the status quo, the government said.
The two sides 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”, the government said in a statement.
“In this regard they further agreed that both sides should complete the ongoing disengagement process along the LAC expeditiously,” the statement added.
Today, sources said China has withdrawn its troops by at least a kilometer and dismantled its temporary structures in Ladakh’s Galwan river valley, where 20 soldiers were killed in action during a clash with Chinese troops on June 15. Indian soldiers have also pulled back and a buffer zone has been created, sources said.
The Chinese foreign minister said both sides “agreed to follow the important consensus reached by leaders of the two countries”.
“Both sides should adhere to the strategic assessment that instead of posing threats, the two countries provide each other with development opportunities… Both believed that maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas matters significantly to the long-term development of bilateral relationship, that the boundary question should be placed properly in the bilateral relations, and that an escalation from differences to disputes should be avoided,” China said.
The Special Representative level talks came two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to a Ladakh forward post and in his address to the troops, said “the age of expansionism is over and expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back.”
The military commanders of the two nations have already held three rounds of talks, which have all been inconclusive.
After the third round of meeting last week at Chusul, on the Indian side or the Line of Actual Control, government sources said there will be some more rounds to go both at the military and the diplomatic level.
The Special Representatives agreed that the diplomatic and military officials of the two sides should continue their discussions, the government said. Along with it, the talks between the Special Representatives will also continue, the government said.
Sources had said the mutual disengagement on the ground would depend on China agreeing to move back to its positions before the tension started building-up in the areas along the Line of Control.
Since April, Chinese intrusions were reported in the Fingers region on the banks of the Pangong Lake, the Hot Springs area, the Galwan Valley, and the Depsang Plains further to the north. China has also laid claim to the area in the Fingers region of Ladakh’s Pangong Lake. Satellite images have revealed a massive Mandarin symbol and map of China inscribed on the ground they occupy.
On May 5, the Chinese and Indian troops had clashed near Pangong lake. Both sides later disengaged.