China removes tents, structures in Galwan as disengagement starts at LAC: Sources

New Delhi (NVI): In first signs of withdrawal of Chinese troops along Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh, the PLA has removed tents and dismantled its structures in the Galwan Valley that witnessed a violent face-off between the Indian and Chinese troops on June 15, sources said.

“Disengagement with PLA has started as per agreed terms in the Corps Commander’s meeting,” the sources said while referring to the third military-level talks between the two sides held on June 30 to normalise the situation on India-China border.

According to sources, PLA has stepped back from some friction points in the disputed area. The disengagement  process also comes a day after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had a telephonic conversation with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi under the Special Representatives (SR) mechanism on recent developments on the India-China border areas.

The Chinese troops have been seen removing tents and structures at PP14 (Patrolling Point) in Galwan area, sources said, adding that similar movement from the two sides is also expected at the other two standoff sites of PP15 and PP17A in the Hot Springs sector.

“Rearward movement of vehicles of PLA seen at General area Galwan, Hotsprings and Gogra,” they said while adding that there are no details regarding the specific distances the two sides have moved backward and confirmation is only possible after verification.

Sources further said that certain vehicles have also been coming to the location to take the troops towards their side.

In the June 30 Corps Commander level meeting, both sides had emphasised on the need for an “expeditious, phased and stepwise de-escalation” in Ladakh region along the LAC as a priority.

Before June 30 meeting a Chushul border point on the Indian side, the two sides had a military-level engagement earlier on June 6 and 22 at Moldo, which falls on the Chinese side of LAC.

Today’s development also comes three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited forward areas in Ladakh and boosted the morale of Indian troops deployed in the region. While addressing the Indian Army, Air Force and ITBP soldiers in Nimu, one of the forward locations in Ladakh, the Prime Minister gave a strong message to China that the Indian troops will not hesitate in protecting the motherland as their valour has been demonstrated before the whole world recently (Galwan).

India and China are currently locked in a bitter standoff at multiple locations in Eastern Ladakh, especially after the June 15 violent clash between the Indian and Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in which 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives.

-ARK