Indian and Chinese troops kicked off disengagement from Patrolling Point-15 in the larger Gogra-Hot Springs area of eastern Ladakh. However, there is still no progress in the much bigger face-offs at Demchok and the strategically-located Depsang Plains.
India and China announced that their frontline troops have kicked off disengagement from Patrol Point-15 (Gogra-Hot Springs area) in eastern Ladakh. This is the fourth round of disengagement between the two armies.
- In May 2020, Indian and Chinese troops clashed at various points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
- These points included —
- Pangong Tso, Galwan Nalah and Demchok in Ladakh and at Naku La (a mountain pass at an altitude of over 5000 metres) in Sikkim.
- Later, a violent clash at Galwan Valley started between Indian troops and soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in June, 2020.
- It was the first deadly clash between India and China in at least 45 years. 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives.
- After this incident, both sides deployed a large number of troops in the area along with heavy weaponry.
- The infrastructure build-up has also been very heavy and the standoff between the two forces is continuing.
The Corps Commander level talks –
- India and China have been holding the talks on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh area to resolve the standoff.
- So far, the 16 round of Corps Commander-level talks had been held between the two countries.
- The 16th round took place in July 2022.
Outcomes of the previous rounds of talks –
- Troops were disengaged on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso and Gogra Post.
- However, at Hot Springs they continued to face each other.
- Earlier, China had refused to complete the stalled troop disengagement at the Patrolling Point (PP) – 15 in the Hot Springs-Gogra-Kongka La area.
- Now, as per the consensus achieved during 16th round of talks, both sides announced disengagement in PP-15 region.
- The Chinese have also been preventing Indian troops from accessing five traditional patrolling points on the Depsang Plains(Depsang bulge)
- These five traditional patrolling are —PP10, PP11, PP11A, PP12 and PP13.
- Depsang plains are not far from the strategic Indian outpost at Daulat Beg Oldie near the Karakoram Pass in the north. It is a table-top plateau located at an altitude of 16,000-feet.
- The no-patrol buffer zones have been created after disengagement at —
- PP-14 in Galwan Valley,
- PP-17A near Gogra
- Pangong Tso
- However, these zones have largely come up in what India claims to be its territory.
- The big problem for India remains the major encroachment by the PLA in the Depsang Bulge.
- The PLA has been actively blocking Indian soldiers in Depsang, around 18-km inside what India considers its own territory, from even going to their traditional PPs-10, 11, 12, 12A and 13 in the area since April-May 2020.
- Military experts believe Depsang imbroglio (complexity) can be resolved only through top political intervention.
- Since mid-June, Chinese fighter jets have also shown provocative behaviour by flying close to the LAC.
- As part of Confidence Building Measures (CBM), both the countries had established 10-km no-fly zone around the LAC.