New Delhi: The Chinese army has pulled back troops that were involved in the fatal clash at Galwan on June 15 from the flashpoint to lower tempers but it is still not clear if they have been rotated out from the sector as part of the disengagement process. Sources told ET that troops from the PLA battalion involved in the Galwan clash have been moved away from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and regular border troops that had been manning the area have now been deployed.

As reported, troops from the 16 Bihar regiment that were involved in the deadly clash are being moved out from Galwan as well as part of the regular rotation of troops that is carried out in border areas. The 16 Bihar had to move out by March this year but the move got delayed after movements were restricted following the Covid-19 crisis.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh met soldiers from 16 Bihar involved in the clash during his visit to the Pangong Tso on Friday, including a Subedar of the battalion who led troops after the PLA ambush. The minister saluted the troops for their brave stand and thanked them for their devotion to duty. “The PLA troops involved in the clash were not regular soldiers who have been manning the border. These were troops brought in from some other locations. They have now been replaced by the regular border troops who have been deployed for a long time in Galwan,” a source said.

Unlike Indian units that are deployed for a 24-36 month tenure on the LAC, Chinese troops are permanently deployed to various sectors and are rarely rotated. There has been a view that the violence of June 15, as well as an earlier clash on May 5, had been perpetuated by ‘outsider troops’ and not regular Chinese soldiers manning the border who generally have a cordial relationship with Indian army units posted forward. Sources said the disengagement process has been progressing and a joint physical verification of the flashpoints is expected this week. Top air force officers are also expected to meet on Tuesday for a commanders’ conference in which the ongoing situation on the China border will be discussed in detail.

As first reported by ET, the first batch of combat ready Rafale fighter jets are arriving at the Ambala airbase on July 27 and the commanders are expected to discuss their application given the current security scenario as well. France has gone out of its way to ensure that key armament and training is given in advance to ensure that the Rafale fleet is combat ready. The French Air Force will also deploy its mid air refuelers half way to the UAE to ensure that the combat jets make it to India with a single stopover.