New Delhi, July 06, 2020: China has withdrawn its troops by at least a kilometer in the tense Galwan river valley in Ladakh, where 20 soldiers were killed in action in a deadly brawl with Chinese troops on June 15, sources said on Monday. Indian soldiers have also withdrawn and a buffer zone has been created between the troops of both sides, according to the sources.
The sources said Chinese soldiers have begun withdrawing from the Galwan river bend and have removed structures from the area. At present, there are firm reports of disengagement only in the Galwan valley, in the last 24 hours.
"We will need to wait to see if this is a lasting, genuine disengagement," said the sources.
On Indian troops pulling back, the sources emphasise that it is being done without giving up on any territorial claim, with the purpose of separating the two forces by a certain distance on a mutual basis to create sense of confidence as the process of disengagement takes place.
Reports of the pull-back have emerged three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to a Ladakh forward post on Friday, where he addressed thousands of troops and asserted, without naming China, that "the age of expansionism is over and expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back."
Last week, commanders of the Indian and Chinese armies met for a third round of talks after the Galwan Valley clash. The Lieutenant-General-level talks have focused on reducing tension at the Line of Actual Control - the de facto border between India and China - after weeks of a tense face-off including physical fights in early May.
The progress from talks, sources had said, would be contingent on China agreeing to move back to its positions before the tension in the area started building-up in April.
Recent satellite images are proof of multiple Chinese intrusions across the Line of Actual Control and the deployment of heavy weaponry and Chinese construction activity. The images had indicated that the Chinese had illegally occupied 423 metres of Indian territory in the Galwan Valley.
Images acquired by NDTV from Planet Labs showed a significant consolidation of Chinese forces in Ladakh’s Pangong Lake region where Indian soldiers are being stopped from patrolling after violent skirmishes in May in which dozens of Indian soldiers are believed to have been injured.