The agreement on PP17A was moved during the 12th round of Corps Commander-level reports Saturday. The meeting, which was part of a series of measures to determine the 15-month stalemate in Ladakh, was taken on the Indian side of the Chushul-Moldo border.
[avatar user=”Mansi Bhandari” size=”thumbnail” align=”left”]By Mansi Bhandari[/avatar]
Ending the stalemate in border reports that lasted almost six months, India and China have accepted in principle to release at a key patrol point in eastern Ladakh even though other friction areas reside in the region, government sources stated. Ending the stalemate in border reports that lasted almost six months, India and China have accepted in principle to release at a key patrol point in eastern Ladakh even though other friction areas reside in the region, government sources stated. Sources told China has accepted to step back from PP17A, also recognized as the Gogra Post, but is “not inclined” to run back from PP15 or the Hot Springs area. “Modalities are being pulled out. But on PP17A, there is an accommodation to disengage. On PP15, China proceeds to request that it is holding its own side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC),” an official stated.
The proposals are with the government, and details of how the troops will move are being discussed, sources said. The movement is supposed to begin within the next couple of days, they answered.
The issue of Chinese ingression in the Depsang Plains and Charging-Ninglung Nallah (CNN) in the Demchok area were not discussed, sources said. But the most modern breakthrough is important, they stated, considering the stalemate since February.
A joint statement circulated Monday announced the two sides had a “candid and in-depth exchange of beliefs on the resolution of left areas related to disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of India-China border areas”.
It declared: “The two sides noted that this…meeting was effective, which further magnified mutual agreement. They agreed to resolve these
remaining concerns expeditiously following the existing agreements and protocols and keep the momentum of dialogue and negotiations.”
The statement stated the two also admitted that in the interim, “they will maintain their effective efforts in ensuring durability along the LAC in the Western Sector and jointly keep peace and tranquility”.
According to sources, the disengagement at PP17A is likely to understand the process utilized for PP14 in the Galway Valley and Pangong Tso where a time-frame was set for withdrawal, passing structures were separated physical verification was done.
Platoon-sized units have been present on the Indian side of the LAC, at PP15 and PP17A, since the Galway clashes of June last year, but the forces are no longer in an “eyeball to eyeball” confrontation.
“There is a length of about 500m between troops of both countries at these friction points. But disengagement is important because it is tough to maintain these positions, and matters can go out of hand any time,” another official responded.
In February, the two sides had disengaged from the north and south banks of Pangong Tso, where troops and tanks from both sides were almost a few hundred meters separated at some locations.
Sources stated Saturday’s meeting, which started around 10.30 am, continued till 7.30 pm — a relatively lower period compared to previous engagements that lasted till 2-3 am. They told that before the meeting, officials were expecting to obtain a breakthrough on PP15 and PP17A. “Both sides were fixed on what could be achieved. Most of this had been agreed upon during diplomatic engagements,” a senior government official announced.
Aside from PP15 and PP17A, PP14 in Galway Valley, and Finger 4 on the north bank of Pangong Tso and Rezang La and Rechin La on the south bank, were recognized as friction points. Forces from both sides have since disengaged from PP14 after the violent conflicts of June 15 last year, which left 20 Indians and at least four Chinese troops dead.
In Depsang Plains, Chinese troops are hindering Indian soldiers from locating their regular patrolling ends— PP10, PP11, PP11A, PP12, and PP13. In Demchok, sources stated, “so-called civilians” have pitched tents on the Indian side of Charging Nallah, which indicates the LAC.0
“Parallel to the reports, China is also involved in pin-prick tactics. They are building strong structures very near to the border at many places and have quickened the pace of infrastructure development on their side. But we are expecting things to improve existing friction points,” a security official stated.
The last Corps Commander-level conversations were taken on April 9, when the two sides could not even recognize on a joint statement. On Saturday, the Indian delegation was directed by Lt Gen PG K Menon, Commander of XIV Corps that is accountable for the LAC with eastern Ladakh, while Maj Gen Liu Lin, Commander of South Xinjiang Military District, directed the Chinese side.