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Iran Press TV

India, China agree to demilitarize border area

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 11 February 2021 11:25 AM

India and China have agreed to withdraw their troops from an area on their contested Himalayan border, as part of efforts to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors since a deadly clash last June.

The Indian defense minister made the announcement on Thursday and said the two sides had reached an agreement to pull back from the disputed Pangong Lake area in the western Himalayas after several rounds of talks between India and China's military commanders and diplomats.

"Our sustained talks with China have led to agreement on disengagement on the north and south banks of the Pangong Lake," Minister Rajnath Singh told the Indian parliament.

Singh said the accord with Beijing "envisages that both sides will cease their forward deployments in a phased, coordinated and verified manner."

The Indian defense minister also underlined that the move "will substantially restore the situation to that existing prior to commencement of the stand-off last year."

Moreover, China's Defense Ministry confirmed that frontline troops from the two countries had begun pulling back from the shores of the lake "in a synchronized and planned way."

Back in June last year, 20 Indian soldiers were killed during a skirmish in the Galwan Valley, a precipitous and rocky border area that lies between China's Tibet and India's Ladakh regions. There were no reports of Chinese casualties, with each side blaming the other for the incident.

That was the first such deadly clash at the disputed border in the western Himalayas since 1967.

The two Asian powerhouses have been engaged in a protracted dispute over the Line of Actual Control frontier that divides their long joint border. They also fought a brief war back in 1962.

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