India-China conflict: Chinese troops remove structures in Hot Springs, Gogra
Amid talks to de-escalate the border tensions between India and China in Eastern Ladakh, the Chinese military has reportedly removed temporary infrastructure installed at two friction sites. The two sites, Hot Springs and Gogra, have seen substantial withdrawal of Chinese troops, government sources told PTI on Monday. However, the Indian Army will continue to maintain a strict vigil on China's rearward movement.
A source told PTI, "There has been substantial withdrawal of Chinese troops from Hot Springs and Gogra. The Chinese military has dismantled temporary infrastructure too in the areas." The mutual disengagement is likely to be completed within two days. At Patrolling Point 15 Hot Springs, the process will be completed by Tuesday evening, News 18 reported.
The Chinese military has already removed its personnel from Patrolling Point 14 in Galwan Valley, the sources said. They added that in Pangong Tso, there has been "marginal thinning out of troops." The Indian Army is thoroughly verifying China's move to withdraw troops, they said.
The disengagement process started Monday morning after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a nearly two-hour telephonic conversation on Sunday. During the conversation, the two agreed on an expeditious withdrawal of troops from the area. After the first phase of disengagement is complete, the two sides are expected to hold further talks this week.
Tensions between India and China had escalated around two months ago when hundreds of soldiers engaged in a violent face-off on the intervening night of May 5 and 6 near Pangong Tso lake. The two sides were then locked in a bitter standoff at multiple locations until tensions escalated further on June 15 when the forces faced off again in Galwan Valley.
On the Indian side, 20 soldiers were martyred in the June 15 clash. China also confirmed that it had suffered casualties, however, it has not officially confirmed the toll yet. Reports in the Indian media pegged that China suffered over 40 casualties.
Since the early-May clash, the two sides had been holding diplomatic and military talks to ease tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). In early-June, both sides had agreed to disengage gradually, but the situation worsened after the June 15 clash. The two sides continue to hold talks and have agreed to disengage from all friction points in Eastern Ladakh.