Indian and Chinese troops disengaging from western Himalayan area

Sep 09, 2022, 00:33 am

Indian and Chinese troops have begun disengaging from the Gogra-Hotsprings border area in the western Himalayas, both sides said, two years after clashes at the frontier strained diplomatic ties.

The disengagement comes ahead of a meeting in Uzbekistan next week that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to attend.

Both sides said disengagement was taking place in a coordinated and "planned" way that would help to keep peace on the border.

"The eyeball-to-eyeball contact has ended," an Indian defence source said on Thursday, although both countries still had thousands of soldiers lined up along the de factor border, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

"The forces have disengaged. They have not been de-inducted."

"This is the first step towards a calmer LAC," the source said, declining to be identified as they are not authorised to speak to the media.

China's defence ministry said on Friday that troops from both sides had started to disengage in a "synchronised and planned" manner.

"This is conducive to maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border areas," the ministry said.

India and China share an undemarcated 3,800 km-long (2,360 mile-long) border, where their troops previously adhered to long-standing protocols to avoid the use of any firearms.