A disengagement agreement has been reached between India and China on the southern and northern banks of Pangong Tso Lake, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said today, Feb.11, in a statement in Parliament.
He said that it was agreed during the ninth round of Corps Commander-level military talks that both sides would phase out forward deployments in a structured and phased manner.
Sustained efforts led to disengagement: Rajnath Singh
"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," Rajnath added. He further said that India had never acknowledged the unjustified claims of China and that it had always said that bilateral ties could only be sustained with both sides' efforts.
As per the disengagement plan, the Chinese PLA will go back to finger 8 and Indian side to finger 3. Further, patrolling will be suspended from either side till further agreement.
Notably, the defence Minister's statement has come a day after the Chinese Ministry of Defense said that on the southern and northern banks of Pangong Tso, both sides had started to disengage. Senior Colonel Wu Qian, the spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry, said the move was in line with the agreement reached by both sides during the meeting of military commanders held on the Chinese side of the Moldova-Chushul border meeting point on January 24th.
However, there was no official word from the Indian side. Moreover, few media reports had reported that the two militaries are pulling back the armoured elements including the tank and infantry combat vehicles from the heights on the southern bank of Pangong lake. Troops still retain positions at strategic heights and there has been no withdrawal of troops in the Finger Area on the lake's northern bank.