Indo-Chinese conflict deescalates as countries withdraw border troops
Indian and Chinese personnel withdraw from a disputed border area in the Chang Chenmo River valley after a standoff that lasted for years.
In order to defuse a military stalemate that has repeatedly escalated into deadly skirmishes since May 2020, India and China have agreed to withdraw soldiers stationed along a border tension point close to India's Ladakh region.
The deal, which would see Indian and Chinese personnel withdraw from a disputed border area in the Chang Chenmo River valley, was announced on Thursday by the two statements that were similar in wording.
“On September 8, according to the consensus reached in the 16th round of commander-level talks between China and India, the front-line troops of the Chinese and Indian militaries in Ganandaban began to disengage in a planned manner,” the Chinese Defense Ministry said, adding that the move is “conducive to maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas.”
New Delhi also said the decision would help to promote “peace and tranquility” in the region, echoing Beijing’s statement.
The withdrawal came after a series of border skirmishes between Indian and Chinese troops which began in the spring of 2020, following a long-standing territorial dispute. Some of the clashes involved brawls between the two sides and led to casualties, including deaths among both Chinese and Indian soldiers.
However, Indian officials cited in local media noted that some “friction points” still remain along the border, including in Demchok and Depsang, adding that New Delhi would continue to press China to vacate those areas.
Early in 2020, tensions in the lightly inhabited border area started to increase as Beijing was accused of deploying soldiers into territory that India claimed. Beijing refuted such accusations, blaming India for the uptick in hostilities instead, and the two nations have been locked in a conflict ever since.
The disputed territory was the subject of a conflict between India and China in 1962, but the two countries were unable to agree on a boundary subsequently, leading to sporadic disputes throughout the years, the bloodiest of which occurred in 2020.