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India, China To Withdraw From Disputed Border Area By Sept 12

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India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday said that the country along with 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 statement said.

Indian and Chinese soldiers began withdrawing from the Gogra-Hot Springs area in the western Himalayas on Thursday. The area was witness to deadly clashes at the border in June 2020 which hurt diplomatic ties.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to attend a meeting in Uzbekistan next week and this move is seen as a precursor to the meet.

“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,” India Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in a statement.

He added that, as part of the agreement, temporary structures in the area erected by militaries of both the countries will also be dismantled.

India and China share an undefined 3,800 km (2,360 mile) border. Earlier troops from both countries adhered to long-standing protocols to avoid the use of any firearms.

The area saw at least 20 Indian troops and four Chinese killed in hand-to-hand fighting in 2020. This happened when soldiers from the two sides clashed in the Galwan area of the Ladakh region that straddles the de facto border known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

“The agreement ensures that 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,” Bagchi added.

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