Indian, Chinese soldiers pull back from key border area

NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian and Chinese soldiers are pulling back from a key friction point on their disputed border as part of efforts to lower tensions in a more than two-year standoff that has sometimes led to deadly clashes, the countries’ defense ministries said.

“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.

On Friday, China’s Defense Ministry issued a virtually identical statement, only substituting the Chinese name for the area, “Jianan Daban.”

The disengagement followed a 16th round of commander-level talks between the two countries in July.

There are three key friction points between the countries, at Depsang, Pangong and Gogra-Hotsprings. Some disengagement of troops occurred last year from the Pangong Tso sector.

The two countries have stationed tens of thousands of soldiers backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along the de facto border, called the Line of Actual Control.

In a deadly clash with clubs, stones and fists in June 2020, India said it lost 20 troops and China said it lost four soldiers.

The Line of Actual Control 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. India and China fought a war over the border in 1962.

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Associated Press writer Aijaz Hussain in Srinagar, India, contributed to this report.

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