Eastern Eye (UK)

India and China complete pullback of troops from border


INDIA said last Sunday (21) that its troops, along with their Chinese counterpar­ts, had completed a pullback from a disputed part of their Himalayan border after months of heightened tensions.

After nine rounds of high-level talks which have been held since the June clash, India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh said last week both sides agreed to disengage from the Pangong Lake area.

India’s defence ministry said in a joint statement with Beijing that during the 10th round of talks last Saturday (20), “the two sides positively appraised the smooth completion of disengagem­ent of frontline troops in the Pangong Lake area”.

The statement said it was a “significan­t step forward” that provided a good starting point for the resolution of other disputes in the western sector of the contested border. “The two sides agreed to... continue their communicat­ion and dialogue, stabilise and control the situation on the ground (and) push for a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues,” the statement added.

India and China share a 3,500-kilometre border, with disputes at other points in Ladakh, including at Aksai Chin, a strategic corridor linking Tibet to western China next to the Galwan valley, and at Naku La pass, which connects Sikkim state with Tibet.

The latest flare-up turned deadly in mid-June last year when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a border battle in Galwan river valley in Ladakh. Beijing last Friday (19) said four of its soldiers had died in the clash, its first confirmati­on of Chinese fatalities.

THE UN refugee agency called on Monday for the immediate rescue of a group of Rohingya refugees adrift in their boat in the Andaman Sea without food or water, many of them ill and suffering from extreme dehydratio­n.

The UN high commission­er for refugees (UNHCR) said it did not know the exact location of the vessel but understood some passengers had died. The boat had left southern Bangladesh about 10 days ago and experience­d engine failure, it said.

“Immediate action is needed to save lives and prevent further tragedy,” UNHCR said in a statement, offering to support

government­s by providing humanitari­an those rescued.

A senior Indian coast guard official confirmed that the boat has been tracked to an area off the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

At least eight people had died on the boat, according to Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, a group that monitors the



Rohingya crisis. He said Indian navy vessels that were close by had provided food and water to those on the boat. “But we still don’t know what they will do afterwards,” he added.

A spokesman for India’s navy did not provide details of the situation but said a statement would be issued later.

According to UNHCR, the boat left from the Bangladesh coastal district of Cox’s Bazar, where about a million Rohingya live in dire conditions in refugee camps.

Authoritie­s in Bangladesh said on Monday they were unaware of any boats leaving the camps. “If we had such informatio­n, we would have stopped them,” said Rafiqul

Islam, an additional police superinten­dent in Cox’s Bazar.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled to Bangladesh after a deadly crackdown by security forces in Myanmar in 2017.

Amnesty Internatio­nal said too many lives had already been lost from countries refusing to assist Rohingya people at sea.

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