India and China agree to dismantle buildings at Gogra Hot springs

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The two sides have been engaged in a standoff at Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hot Springs region of eastern Ladakh for more than two years, according to a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs on Friday (9 September). According to MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, the sixteenth round of discussions between the Corps Commanders of India and China were held at Chushul Moldo Meeting Point on July 17, 2022. This was in response to media inquiries regarding the disengagement at area Gogra-Hot Springs (PP-15).

This undated handout photograph released by the Indian Army on February 16, 2021 shows People Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers and tanks during military disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at the India-China border in Ladakh. FILE PHOTO: INDIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENCE / AFP

Around a week before the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Uzbekistan, which is anticipated to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the disengagement of troops was announced.
Although it hasn’t been confirmed, a meeting between Modi and Xi isn’t being ruled out either. Sources claim that a meeting between Modi and Putin is almost certain to occur. Spokesman for the external affairs ministry Arindam Bagchi stated that “the process started on September 8 at 8:30 am and will be completed by September 12 in accordance with the agreement.”

After more than two dozen rounds of diplomatic and military negotiations since the military standoff first became public in May 2020, Hot Springs is only the third flashpoint in the Ladakh sector of the LAC where the two sides have agreed to withdraw frontline troops. They had previously pulled back troops from Gogra as well as the north and south banks of Pangong Lake. Chinese forces continue to barricade Indian access to established patrolling areas along the LAC in the Depsang Plains and Charding Nala region, as well as other contentious boundary issues between the two nations.

Following the 12th Corp Commander-level meeting, the two countries’ forces last disengaged at PP 17A in August 2021. There was no progress made during the subsequent three rounds of negotiations. In the sixteenth round, an agreement was reached.

By Subhechcha Ganguly

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