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China-India Agreed to Disengage

China-India Agreed to Disengage

Why in news?

  • Recently, during the 12th round of discussions between the senior military commanders of India and China to resolve the standoff in eastern Ladakh, both have agreed in principle to disengage at a key patrol point in eastern Ladakh.
  • The 11th Corps Commander-level talks were held in April 2021, when the two sides could not even agree on a joint statement.

The Agreement

  • Six months after PLA troops came in 8 km west of the point which India says marks the Line of Actual Control on the north bank of Pangong Tso to trigger a military standoff in Ladakh, China has proposed moving its troops back to Finger 8, and return of troops by the two sides to their original locations on the south bank of the lake.
  • The proposal also includes moving back tanks and artillery to the depth areas on either side to reduce chances of any incident in a region where tensions are already high, and troops are battling the harsh Ladakh winter.
  • Under the agreement, both sides will cease their forward deployments in a phased, coordinated and verified manner in these areas.
  • India has not conceded anything while entering into the disengagement process. However, there are some outstanding issues with regard to deployment and patrolling at some other points along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
  • The Chinese side will keep its troop presence in the North Bank area to east of Finger 8. Reciprocally, the Indian troops will be based at their permanent base.
  • A similar action would be taken in the South Bank area by both sides.
  • These are mutual and reciprocal steps and any structures that had been built by both sides since April 2020 in both North and South Bank areas will be removed.

Area of conflict

  • India and China were engaged at six flashpoints.
  • Out of six, troops from both sides have now backed down in four flashpoints including at Galwan and North & South banks of the Pangong Lake.
  • However, standoffs in Depsang and Hot Springs continue.                                China-India Agreed to Disengage

Hot Springs and Gogra Post

  • Hot Springs is just north of the Chang Chenmo river and Gogra Post is east of the point where the river takes a hairpin bend coming southeast from Galwan Valley and turning southwest.
  • The area is north of the Karakoram Range of mountains, which lies north of the Pangong Tso lake, and south east of Galwan Valley.

Significance of Hot Springs and Gogra Post

  • The area lies close to Kongka Pass, one of the main passes, which, according to China, marks the boundary between India and China.
  • India’s claim of the international boundary lies significantly east, as it includes the entire Aksai Chin area as well.
  • Hot Springs and Gogra Post are close to the boundary between two of the most historically disturbed provinces (Xinjiang and Tibet) of China.

Patrolling Point 15 and 17A

  • Along the LAC between India and China, Indian Army has been given certain locations that its troops have access to patrol the area under its control.
  • These points are known as patrolling points, or PPs, and are decided by the China Study Group (CSG).
  • CSG was set-up in 1976, when Indira Gandhi was the prime minister, and is the apex decision-making body on China.
  • Barring certain areas, like Depsang Plains, these patrolling points are on the LAC, and troops access these points to assert their control over the territory.
  • It is an important exercise since the boundary between India and China is not yet officially demarcated.
  • LAC is the demarcation that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory.
  • PP15 and PP17A are two of the 65 patrolling points in Ladakh along the LAC.                                    China-India Agreed to Disengage
  • Both these points are in an area where India and China largely agree on the alignment of the LAC.
  • PP15 is located in an area known as the Hot Springs, while PP17A is near an area called the Gogra post.

 

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