Monday, January 18, 2021

Has China Really Withdrawn Soldiers From Galwan Valley – Chinese FM Responds

Amidst reports of withdrawal of Indian and Chiese soldiers from the contested Galwan Valley, a statement was issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. China has said that both countries are working to reduce border tension but did not clarify whether its army had retreated or not.

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News agency Reuters asked Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian “According to Indian media reports, China has retreated with tents and equipment from the Galwan Valley, where there was a clash between the two countries.” Can you confirm it has happened?

In response, Zhao Lijian said – “there is progress made on front-line troops taking effective measures to disengage and ease the tensions.” He said the Chinese and Indian troops held commander-level talks on June 30 as the two sides continued to work to implement the consensus reached at the two previous rounds of talks.

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“We hope the Indian side will move towards China and through concrete actions implement the consensus and continue the close communication through military and diplomatic channels to jointly push for the de-escalation on the border region,” Zhao said.

As per reports in India, China’s PLA troops were seen withdrawing and removing tents and structures at patrolling point 14, the sources said in New Delhi, adding the backward movement of vehicles of Chinese troops was seen in the general area of Galwan and Gogra Hot Springs.

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According to Reuters, the steps taken on Monday were important in reducing the tension between India and China at the LAC, but it will not have much effect on the army or their preparations in the volatile region. Experts say that the Indian army will have to be prepared to deal with the new realities of the border and a belligerent China.

Reuters quoted a senior army official as saying that it may take two to three weeks to take the initial steps in the contested region. Only then will there be a meeting between the army commanders and then the next step will be taken. This means that the deployment of the army will drag on for a few weeks, if not months.

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The Indian Army is also concerned that the Chinese PLA troops are present in large numbers of LAC, and Beijing can walk in the reverse direction at any time. Therefore, the Indian Army will have to be very alert from its side and will not think of reducing its troops from the region.

Chinese state media – the Global Times acknowledged that India and China had agreed to withdraw troops from after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval spoke on Sunday night.

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India and China also welcomed the progress achieved in the recent military and diplomatic meetings, agreed to stay in dialogue and consultation and emphasised the necessity to act on the agreement reached in the commander-level talks and to complete withdrawal of the front-line soldiers as soon as possible, according to the FM release.

The GT report also stated that – the details of the agreement, such as who will withdraw first – Indian or Chinese troops could be carried out in a “silent” manner, to avoid instigation sentiments, especially in India.

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