20:14 GMT05 August 2020
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    New satellite images taken from over the Galwan Valley - the site of last month’s clashes between China and India that killed 20 Indian Army personnel - show Chinese troops are honoring recent disengagement discussions with India and have withdrawn around 2 kilometers from the area of conflict.

    Images taken on Monday by US-based space technology company Maxar Technologies show that Chinese forces are pulling back troops from the Galwan Valley, as part of a previously agreed upon disengagement procedure.

    “China does not want to go to war and India does not have the ability to fight one,” Liu Zongyi, head of the South Asia Research Center at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the South China Morning Post.

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian national security adviser Ajit Doval previously met on Sunday, and both parties agreed to begin disengaging troops along the Line of Actual Control - the de facto border that has existed between the two countries since 1962 Sino-Indian War.

    "They reaffirmed that both sides should strictly respect and observe the Line of Actual Control and should not take any unilateral action to alter the status quo and work together to avoid any incident in the future that could disturb the peace and tranquility in border areas," the Indian Ministry of External Affairs statement on the matter read.

    Troops from both sides are now firmly on their respective ends of the Line of Actual Control, according to sources who spoke with New Delhi-based outlet NDTV. Government sources also told the outlet that they are “cautiously hopeful” that China will continue to withdraw from the Galwan Valley, Hot Springs and Gogra by the middle of July.

    The recent images came alongside White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ comments to Fox News regarding the US presence in the South China Sea and the military’s deployment of the aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan to the region. He also asserted that the US would back India in the event of a possible conflict.

    “We’re not going to stand by and let China or anyone else take the reins in terms of being the most powerful, dominant force, whether it’s in that region or over here,” he told the outlet.

    "The message is clear. Our military might stands strong and will continue to stand strong, whether it's in relationship to a conflict between India and China or anywhere else,” he added.

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry has condemned the increased US presence and subsequent drills in the South China Sea. Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian argued that the US was attempting to drive a wedge between the two countries with its deployment of the two aircraft carriers to the region.


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