By Aarti Tikoo Singh
New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) China and India on Wednesday began their simultaneous withdrawal of troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, according to an official statement issued by the Chinese government.
If the Chinese official statement is to be believed, the nine month-long stand-off between the two Asian giants has come to an end.
The Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi has not issued any statement yet.
The spokesperson of China’s Ministry of National Defense, Wu Qian said: “According to the consensus reached by the 9th round of the military commander-level talks between China and India, the frontline units of the Chinese and Indian armed forces in Pangong Hunan and North Coast began to simultaneously and systematically organize disengagement on February 10.”
Since May last year, Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in skirmishes along the LAC near Pangong lake in Ladakh and the Tibet Autonomous region. In one of the violent clashes, 20 Indian soldiers and over 40 Chinese troops were killed in the Galwan valley on June 15-16. Amid the face-off, India sent massive deployments to Ladakh.
Though both sides disengaged in the Galwan valley of Ladakh in July but the stand-off continued at critical points at Pangong and PP17A. In August, Indian troops regained multiple strategic heights in Chushul sector along the LAC.
However, both the countries remained engaged in talks through established institutions and mechanisms like ‘Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on China-India Border Affairs’ (WMCC). Several rounds of talks were held at diplomatic and military levels.
On January 24, the ninth round of the Corps Commander level meeting was held.
The tensions between the two Asian economies resulted in Indian people threatening to boycott Chinese products. The accusations that Chinese smartphone apps were stealing Indian data, led to the government banning over 200 Chinese apps.
However, the bilateral trade continued through the hostility and during the coronavirus pandemic, which had originated in Wuhan city of Hubei province in China.
By Aarti Tikoo Singh