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Major dailies report ‘China has retreated’, all quoting unnamed sources

Srinagar: ‘China has retreated in Ladakh’, major national dailies in India reported on Wednesday all quoting unnamed “sources” to back their claim.

The Hindu, Indian Express, The Times of India, The Telegraph and others reported almost similar details with different by-lines – all claiming that both the countries have begun “partial disengagement” from some of the standoff points.

 “Partial deinduction has happened from some points in Galwan and Hot Springs areas. [The] Chinese side removed some of the tents and some troops and vehicles have been moved back, and the Indian side too has reciprocated,” The Hindu reported quoting “official sources”.

Similarly, Indian Express too carried the news with headline ‘Signs of de-escalation: China, India pull back troops from key LAC points’.

The report was again based on unnamed government and army sources.

The Express report read: In what may be the first signs of de-escalation of tensions along the Line of Actual Control, Indian and Chinese troops have gradually started moving back from standoff positions at different points in the Galwan and Hot Spring areas of Ladakh. While there has been no official statement yet on whether a disengagement is underway, government sources Tuesday said: “We note the developments along the LAC, and will be monitoring them closely in the next few days.”

The Times of India too reported “slight troop pull-back” again quoting “official sources.”

“Official sources on Tuesday said the “limited mutual troop pull-back” at the confrontation sites in the Galwan Valley region (patrolling points 14 and 15) and Gogra-Hot Springs area over the last couple of days is a clear signal that the actual disengagement in the Himalayan region is now firmly on the cards,” read the ToI report.

The Telegraph too reported the story, however made it clear, even in the headline that the government was not officially making any statement and the report was based on news agency ANI’s “unnamed sources”.

The Telegraph ran with the headline: “Answer by unnamed sources: China has pulled back.”

The first few paragraphs of the report read: Indian and Chinese soldiers have disengaged at three locations in eastern Ladakh and China has moved back troops by 2-2.5km in these areas, the ANI news agency on Tuesday quoted unnamed “top government sources” as saying.

In the absence of an official confirmation or statement from the defence or external affairs ministries on the ANI report, the suspense continued over the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) where the troops of both countries have been locked in a standoff for over a month.

The top political leadership, too, chose silence despite the claim of a big breakthrough. There was no tweet from Prime Minister Narendra Modi or defence minister Rajnath Singh.

Quoting unnamed “top government sources”, ANI said in the report: “Because of the talks to be held in the next few days and the Lt Gen-level talks held on June 6, the Chinese army has pulled back its troops from the Galwan Valley, Patrolling Point-15 and Hot Springs area in eastern Ladakh by 2 to 2.5km.”

The Kashmir Monitor has carried an exclusive report on Tuesday interviewing Konchok Stanzin, Executive Councilor who represents Chushul constituency in Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh.

As per Stanzin, China has entered more than 600 meters into the Indian Territory at the Galwan Valley, while its troops have set up camps at Finger Four on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh.