Chinese troops begin withdrawing from Indian territory

LEH/NEW DELHI (TIP): After heightened tension in Chumar area in Northeast Ladakh for four days, Chinese troops tonight began withdrawing from the Indian territory, official sources said. Chinese troops started retreating into their territory from 9:45 PM, the sources said, adding that Indian army which was present also in large number in the area also started simultaneously reducing their presence in the area, about 300 km east of Leh.

The sources said that a vigil was still being maintained as the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had camped just across the Line of Actual Control (LAC). However, the stand-off in Demchok where Chinese nomads — Rebos — had pitched their tents continued for the 12th day today. The incursion in this area is nearly 500 metres deep into Indian territory, the sources said. The Chinese nomads actively helped by the PLA have been protesting against an irrigation canal being built for the local villagers.

The standoff in Demchok and Chumar had cast a shadow on summit talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The sources said that the Chinese side pushed in more troops before the break of dawn with more banners asking the Indian Army to leave the area. The number of Chinese troops had shot up to 600. Chinese helicopters were seen hovering at least thrice during the day air dropping food packets for its troops, they said.

The Chinese side had been constructing a road on their side of LAC but on Sunday, its workers entered into Indian side to carry on the construction. This was objected by the Indian side as Chinese workers were making assertions that they have instructions to build a road upto Tible, five kilometres deep into Indian territory, the sources said. The Indian army asked the Chinese workers to leave as otherwise they would face prosecution under Indian laws of entering into the country illegally. However, during the intervening night of Sunday and Monday, nearly 100 Indian soldiers were reported to have been encircled by 300 Chinese PLA men after which a face-off started.

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