According to reports, India and China have begun “synchronised and organised disengagement” from the north and south banks of Pangong Lake.
In a written statement, China’s defence spokesperson Senior Colonel Wu Qian said, “The Chinese and Indian frontline troops at the southern and northern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake start synchronised and organised disengagement from February 10.” The move comes after the ninth round of high-level talks held on the Chinese side.
The ninth round of talks, which lasted for over 15 hours, aimed at reducing the tension existing along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. The nine-month-long standoff began in May last year after skirmishes in the Pangong Lake region and it escalated after the June 14 clash in Galwan Valley in which 20 Indian soldiers died.
Even two weeks ago, the two sides clashed once more along the LAC in Sikkim. It was a “minor face-off” with “insignificant and minor injuries.”
Meanwhile, while addressing the Rajya Sabha today, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “Our sustained talks with China have led to agreement on disengagement on the north and south banks of Pangong Lake. After this agreement, India-China will remove forward deployments in a phased, coordinated manner. He further, added that India aims at maintaining bilateral ties and peace along the LAC.
Last September, both India and China had fired nearly 100-200 rounds of “warning shots” on the northern bank of the lake. Reportedly, it happened just after India made a plan to introduce a post overlooking Chinese troops. Currently, India has deployed around 50,000 Indian troops in sub-zero conditions in mountainous locations across eastern Ladakh.
Reportedly, China has deployed an equal number of troops in the region. However, earlier, the Union Defence Minister stated that India will not reduce the number of troops unless China initiates the process.