Indian, Chinese troops disengaging after clash

An Indian army convoy moves on the Srinagar- Ladakh highway at Gagangeer, north-east of Srinagar, India, on 17 June 2020.

An Indian army convoy moves on the Srinagar- Ladakh highway at Gagangeer, north-east of Srinagar, India, on 17 June 2020. File photo/AP/Mukhtar Khan

By Ashok Sharma | AP

NEW DELHI, India, 10 July 2020

China’s ambassador to India said Friday that Indian and Chinese front-line troops are disengaging in accordance with an agreement reached by military commanders following a clash last month that left at least 20 soldiers dead in the Galwan Valley.

Ambassador Sun Weidong said the two countries should be partners rather than rivals and handle differences properly to bring their ties back on the right track.

In video remarks released in New Delhi, the Chinese envoy said the two countries have the wisdom and capability to properly handle differences.

“We should seek common development as partners rather than opponents or adversaries. Why should we fight against each other, which will only hurt those close to us and gladden the foes?” he said.

Indian officials say a standoff between the two armies began in early May when large contingents of Chinese soldiers entered deep inside Indian-controlled territory at three places in Ladakh.

The situation turned deadly when the rival troops engaged in hand-to-hand fighting in the Galwan Valley, where India is building a strategic road connecting the region to an airstrip close to China. India says 20 of its soldiers were killed and there were casualties on the Chinese side as well.

As part of an understanding reached in a series of meetings between army commanders from the two sides, soldiers have started pulling back at some points in the troubled area.

Senior foreign ministry officials of the two countries through video conferencing on Friday reviewed the progress made in ongoing disengagement process by the two armies at the disputed border that the two countries call the Line Of Actual Control.

The sides reaffirmed that they “will ensure complete disengagement of the troops along the Line of Actual Control and de-escalation from India-China border areas for full restoration of peace and tranquility” in accordance with bilateral agreements and protocols, said a statement issued by India’s External Affairs Ministry.

The Chinese envoy said the boundary question remains sensitive and complicated.

“We need to find a fair and reasonable solution mutually acceptable through equal consultation and peaceful negotiation. Pending an ultimate settlement, we both agree to work together to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas,” he said.

The disputed border covers about 3,500 kilometres (2,175 miles) of frontier and stretches from Ladakh in the north to the Indian state of Sikkim in the northeast.

India and China fought a border war in 1962 that also spilled into Ladakh. The two countries have been trying to settle their border dispute since the early 1990s, without success.


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