In the first sign of de-escalation after the June 15 clash, Chinese troops moved back in Galwan & Pangong Tso. Major development: India, China pull back troops at least 1 km in Galwan valley, say sources

In the first signs of de-escalation after the June 15 clash, Chinese troops are believed to have moved back in both Galwan and Pangong Tso areas. Based on preliminary verification, India and China are likely to acknowledge discernible progress in the disengagement talks through official statements soon.

ET has reliably gathered that both sides are in touch through diplomatic channels to work out agreed statements that will take the process forward. This would include planning for Special Representative-level talks as per the original schedule, which may require National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to travel to China.

The ground situation, ET has learnt, suggests that Chinese troops have started to pull back beyond PP-14 and the area where the clash took place. Also, sources said, some temporary structures and tent-like shelters have also been removed indicating a positive trend.

Even at Pangong Tso, sources said the Chinese side pulled back some distance in the past 24-48 hours from Finger 4 but not yet to the point where India has demanded withdrawal. Here too, sources said, some structures are being pulled down though India is still verifying every detail.

The withdrawal of troops by the Chinese side comes after a lengthy senior commanders meeting on July 2. At that meeting, both sides did agree on a verifiable disengagement process over the next three days, added sources.

Even as these reports of a pull back started to trickle in the past 24 hours, New Delhi is taking a cautious line. Disengagement, sources said, must be meaningful and sustainable so that such events can be avoided in the future.

For this, sources said, India will push for further de-escalation and restoration of earlier status quo and more. To this end, further deliberations are expected.

The standoff at the Line of Actual Control between the two sides had reached a flashpoint on June 15, when the PLA attacked an Indian patrol party that had gone to the border in Galwan Valley to verify a Chinese withdrawal.

20 Indian soldiers including the commanding officer were killed in the clash, and while the Chinese never made public their losses, all indications said they suffered significant casualties, including the death of their battalion commander.