It has been around nine months since India and China have been engaged in a standoff in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). On Wednesday, China’s Defense Ministry announced that troops from both the sides on the southern and northern shores of Pangong Tso have started “synchronized and organized disengagement” in accordance with the last Corps Commanders on January 24.
On Thursday, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh made statements on this matter in Rajyasabha. According to statements from both the sides, troops have started disengaging from the Pangong Tso area in eastern Ladakh. Currently, the disengagement process is seeming to take place only on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso.
Sources have told that the disengagement process of troops has started as both the nations have started pulling back certain columns of tanks from the south bank region. As far as troops are concerned, there is no pulling back of them apparently at least as of now. Pulling back of troops will happen in a phased and verified manner.
The ground commanders from both the sides have started meeting since Tuesday to discuss the exact procedure.
Rajnath Singh said in Rajya Sabha that both sides will remove the forward deployment of troops in a phased, coordinated and verified manner. He said that China will pull its troops on the north bank towards the east of Finger 8. In a similar way, India will also position its forces at its permanent base at the Dhan Singh Thapa post near Finger 3. In south bank area too, both sides will pull back their troops.
Both the nations have also agreed that the area between Finger 3 and Finger 8 will be declared a no-patrolling zone temporarily, till both the nations reach an agreement through military and diplomatic discussions to restore patrolling.
Moreover, whatever construction both sides have done on the north and south banks of the lake since April 2020 will be removed. Rajnath Singh hoped that this will be able to restore the situation pre-standoff.
After this process is over, both the Indian and Chinese troops will be stationed back to their traditional bases on the north bank. India has its traditional base at the Dhan Singh Thapa Post, just west of Finger 3, China has had its base east of Finger 8.
Since September last year, China has insisted that India first pull its troops back from the south bank of Pangong Tso, and the Chushul sub-sector and only after that China will pull back its troops. However, India was demanding that any disengagement process should include the entire region, and troops should return to their April 2020 positions.