The border tension between India and China figured in a phone conversation between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and US Secretary of Defence Mark T Esper today, sources have said. The two have been in regular touch discussing bilateral defence cooperation and issues of mutual interest, and today’s phone call was initiated on Mr Esper’s request, the sources said.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) 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.
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.
The Indian and Chinese armies had been locked in the bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last eight weeks. The tension escalated manifold after the Galwan Valley clash in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed.
Both sides have held several rounds of diplomatic and military talks in the last few weeks to ease tension in the region.