The 20-day-old standoff between the Chinese and Indian army in Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector of Ladakh ended on Sunday when troops from both sides decided to withdraw to their respective pre-incursion positions. However, it is not clear if the Chinese will return to their April 14 position.
Sources said the breakthrough came after hectic discussions and four flag meetings between the commanders of the two armies. It was decided that troops from both sides will pull back simultaneously following which the process was completed at 7.30pm on Sunday, sources said.
Indian and Chinese commanders at the local level shook hands before withdrawing, sources said.
Fifty troops from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had crossed 19 kilometres inside the Indian territory at DBO on the actual line of control (LAC) and set up a tented post on the intervening night of April 15 and 16. Subsequently, they put up four more tents and also deployed Molosser dogs.
“I have learnt that China has withdrawn its troops. They had to withdraw. This is our country’s success; Indian diplomacy has won,” said Rigzin Spalbar, chief executive councilor of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh. The face off in Ladakh had cast a shadow over the visit of external affairs minister Salman Khurshid to China on May 9 to prepare ground for new Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang’s visit to India from May 20.
The Chinese provocation came nine months after the PLA forced the Jammu & Kashmir government to suspend work on the prestigious irrigation scheme at Kuyul-Thuksey area of Nyoma block in Leh district of Ladakh division. It was the third time since 2010 that a major development project was suspended or abandoned under Chinese pressure in Leh district of Ladakh division.