India and China disengaged troops from Gogra area of Eastern Ladakh following an agreement at the 12th round of Corps Commander talks, the Army said. This is the second friction area from which troops have been withdrawn after Pangong Tso (lake) in February as part of efforts of overall disengagement and de-escalation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh to end the standoff that began in May last year.
“As per the agreement, both sides have ceased forward deployments in this area in a phased, coordinated and verified manner. The disengagement process was carried out over two days, August 4 and 5. The troops of both sides are now in their respective permanent bases,” the Army statement added.
Dismantling of structures
All temporary structures and other allied infrastructure created in the area by both sides have been dismantled and mutually verified, the Army said. “The landform in the area has been restored by both sides to pre-stand-off period.” This agreement ensures that the LAC in this area would be strictly observed and respected by both sides, and that there was no unilateral change in status quo, the Army said.
With this development, the focus of further talks would be on disengagement at PP15 in Hot Springs, according to a defence official. Some progress had been made but some issues remain, he observed. On the 12th round of Corps Commander talks which went on for nine hours, the Army said the two sides had a “candid and in-depth exchange of views on resolution of the remaining areas” related to disengagement along the LAC in the Western Sector of border areas.
“As an outcome of the meeting, both sides agreed on disengagement in the area of Gogra. The troops in this area have been in a face-off situation since May last year,” it pointed out. With this, one more sensitive area of face-off had been resolved, the Army noted. Both sides have expressed commitment to take the talks forward and resolve the remaining issues along the LAC in the Western Sector, it added.
An official said that significant progress had been made for disengagement from Gogra and Hot Springs and an agreement was expected to be concluded. In Eastern Ladakh, India and China have two mutually agreed disputed areas, Trig Heights and Demchok, and 10 areas of differing perception. Officials said that since the stand-off last year, additional five friction points have emerged. These are Km 120 in Galwan area, Patrolling Point (PP) 15 and PP17 and Rechin La and Rezang La on the south bank of the Pangong Tso, another official said.