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India, China to leave disputed border area

September 9, 2022

Indian and Chinese soldiers are pulling out of one of three key border areas that have been a focus of bilateral tensions. Some border regions have seen deadly clashes in recent times.

Indian military vehicles in Arunachal Pradesh
The Line of Actual Control between India and China has been the scene of a two-year standoffImage: MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images

Defense ministries from India and China have said troops from both countries are withdrawing from the Gogra-Hotsprings area, known in China as Jianan Daban, in a bid to reduce tensions along a disputed Himalayan border.

 "The Indian and Chinese troops in the area of Gogra-Hotsprings have begun to disengage in a coordinated and planned way, which is conducive to the peace and tranquility in the border areas," the Indian ministry said in a statement Thursday. The Chinese Defense Ministry confirmed the withdrawal in its own statement.

The withdrawal is to be completed by September 12, according to the Indian ministry.

The pullout comes following a 16th round of commander-level talks between the two nuclear-armed countries in July and ahead of a meeting in Uzbekistan next week that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to attend.

What is behind China and India's border dispute?

What is the area concerned?

The area is one of three key points of friction between the countries, the two others being Depsang and Pangong. They are situated along an undemarcated 3,800-kilometer (2,360-mile) border, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which separates Chinese and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India's eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety.

Last year, some troops withdrew from the Pangong Tso sector.

Tens of thousands of soldiers, backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets, have been stationed along the  LAC. 

The two countries fought a war over the border in 1962, and at least 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese were killed in hand-to-hand fighting in 2020 in the Galwan area of the Ladakh region.

Troops from both sides have previously adhered to long-standing protocols to avoid the use of any firearms in the region.

tj/wmr (Reuters, AP)