New Delhi, July 9 (PTI): China's People's Liberation Army on Thursday completed moving back its troops from the face-off sites in Gogra and Hot Springs in eastern Ladakh in line with the understanding reached with the Indian Army, and the two sides are set to hold high-level military talks to further de-escalate tension in the region, people familiar with the development said.
They said both sides have completed creation of a buffer zone of three kilometres in the three friction points of Galwan Valley, Gogra and Hot Springs as part of a temporary measure aimed at reducing the possibility of any confrontation.
On Thursday, the PLA has totally pulled back its troops from Gogra (patrolling point 17), and with this, both sides have implemented the first phase of disengagement to avoid any friction, the people cited above said.
They said the entire focus now shifts to Pangong Tso area where there has been thinning out of troops from Finger area 4. India has been insisting that China must withdraw its forces from areas between Finger 4 and 8.
They said the fourth round of corps commander-level talks between the two side are likely to take place in the next two-three days.
The two armies will also carry out a joint verification in the next few days to assess the implementation of the disengagement process.
The formal disengagement process began on Monday morning after a nearly two-hour telephonic conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday.
In the talks, the two sides agreed on an expeditious withdrawal of troops from all the standoff points to bring back peace and tranquillity in the region. Doval and Wang are Special Representatives for the boundary talks.
Following the talks, a mutual disengagement process began in Galwan Valley, Hot Springs, Gogra and Finger areas in Pangong Tso.
Military sources said Indian Army will continue to maintain its aggressive posturing along the Line of Actual Control till the Chinese side cuts down on its significant build up in its rear bases.
Both sides have brought in thousands of additional troops and weaponry including tanks and artillery guns to their rear bases as part of a mega build up following the face-off that began on May 5.
As per the decisions arrived at corps commander-level talks on June 30, the two sides would create a minimum buffer zone of three kilometre in most of the areas where they were locked in a standoff.
India's message to China: LAC must be respected
As China withdraws troops from several friction points in eastern Ladakh, India on Thursday said it remained convinced of the need for maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas and resolution of differences through dialogue.
At the same time, India said it is strongly committed to ensuring its sovereignty and territorial integrity, asserting that the Line of Actual Control must be strictly respected and observed as it is the basis for peace and tranquillity in border areas.
At a online media briefing, external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said National Security Advisor Ajit Doval categorically conveyed to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last Sunday India's position on the recent developments along the LAC including in the Galwan valley area.
Doval and Wang, the special representatives for border talks, held a telephonic conversation following which armies of the two countries began disengagement of troops from friction points in eastern Ladakh.
Srivastava said the diplomatic and military officials of both sides will continue their meetings to take forward the process of disengagement and de-escalation as agreed to by the special representatives.
"The next meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs is expected to take place soon," he said.
"We remain convinced of the need for maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas and the resolution of differences through dialogue, at the same time, we are also strongly committed to ensuring India's sovereignty and territorial integrity," he further said.
China's Peoples Liberation Army on Thursday completed moving back its troops from the face-off sites in Gogra and Hot Springs in eastern Ladakh line with the understanding reached with the Indian Army.
The two sides are set to hold high-level military talks to further de-escalate tension in the region, people familiar with the development said.