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India and China agree to pull back troops from Ladakh faceoff

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi before starting a bilateral meeting on the sideline of UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday. (Photo courtesy: PTI)
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi before starting a bilateral meeting on the sideline of UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday. (Photo courtesy: PTI)

(TibetanReview.net, Sep28, 2014) –The longest and perhaps the tensest standoff in recent years between Indian and Chinese border troops in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir came to an end on Sep 26 with both the sides agreeing to withdraw immediately to the positions they held on Sep 1. An announcement of this was made by India’s foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, after meeting in New York with her Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, reported nytimes.com Sep 26.

The standoff, which took place in Chumar area of eastern Ladakh, had lasted nearly three weeks. The border confrontation had, at times, overshadowed discussions between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on deepening trade relations during the former’s visit to India from Sep 17 to 19.

“I am happy to tell you that both nations have sat down and resolved the issue. Timelines have been decided,” hindustantimes.com Sep 26 quoted Sushma Swaraj as telling reporters in New York.

China confirmed that the row had been resolved. “As the Indian foreign minister said, the dispute has effectively been managed and the border area is in tranquility,” the report quoted Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying as saying in Beijing.

Swaraj has called the resolution of the crisis a “big accomplishment” and added that the two armies would disengage in a phased manner over the next four days and that the “bad phase will end by Sep 30”.

New Delhi and Beijing are seen as having worked out a middle ground to resolve the dispute. The possibility of India pulling down a temporary construction in the form of a hut in Tible area of Chumar as a trade-off couldn’t be ruled out, the report cited sources in Delhi as saying.

Tensions had escalated in Chumar on Sep 10 when Indian forces found that Chinese troops had moved heavy machinery to construct a temporary road deep inside what India considers its territory. The Chinese have now apparently agreed not to build the road.

India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, recognized Tibet as part of China in a 10-year trade agreement with China in 1954. However, the two sides did not enter into any understanding on where the border between a Chinese ruled Tibet and India would be.

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