In the early hours of Monday, India, and China virtually completed the troop transfer In the Gogra-Hot Springs area of eastern India, patrolling point-15 was disengaged Indian officials hoped Ladakh would pave the way for further negotiations Face-offs at Demchok and Depsang Plains, strategically located.
During the phased withdrawal of troops from PP-15 near the standoff site, mutual forces were withdrawn in phases, There were also temporary structures erected in the area of Kugrang Nallah that were dismantled and removed There was originally a plan to fully complete the creation of a “no-patrol buffer zone” by the end of the year I will have it done by Monday morning.
There has been a “slight delay” in the overall disengagement process due to the final physical verification that both sides still need to complete. According to a source, it should be completed by Tuesday.
In the over 28-month long military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh, PP-15 will be the fourth buffer zone that has been set up. After troop disengagements at the face-off sites at PP-14 (Galwan Valley), PP-17A (Gogra), and Pangong Tso-Kailash Range region, the earlier ones came up at PP-14, PP-17A, and Pangong Tso-Kailash Range, ranging from a distance of 3 to over a distance of almost 10 kilometers.
One of the major concerns is that the buffer zones have spread out over a large part of what India claims to be its territory, preventing Indian troops from patrolling those areas, which poses a major threat to its security. For instance, in February last year, it was observed that in the buffer zone on the north bank of Pangong To, Indian troops withdrew westwards to their permanent Dhan Singh Thapa post which is situated between “Finger-2” and “Finger-3” (mountainous spurs).
The Chinese troops withdrew from their positions on ‘Finger-4’ to those on Sirijap, east of the ‘Finger-8’.As a result of this, Indian troops are no longer able to patrol a 10-kilometer stretch in the Finger area, although Indian maps show that the actual control line runs north to south at “Finger-8”, which is within the region of Indian troops.
Furthermore, China has firmly refused to de-escalate the major face-off between India and China at the Depsang Plains, where Chinese troops have been actively blocking Indian patrols around 18 km inside what India considers to be its own territory since April-May 2020.
It is hoped that the Gogra-Hot Springs disengagement will set the stage for a meeting between Modi and Xi during the SCO summit 13
Former Army Chief General VP Malik (reta) echoed these concerns and said that there is no need to make much of the disengagement at PP-15 for the reason that it is just “a tiny step” after the PLA’s encroachment on April-May 2020. The disengagement takes longer and longer each time. There are several major friction points, namely Depsang and Demchok, where five power plants are blocked. Chinese officials continue to maintain that LAC was illegally crossed by India.There is also no guarantee that the creation of buffer zones will prevent PLA from transgressing in the future.