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India, China complete disengagement at Pangong Tso

A combination photo shows close up of revetments and equipment (top) and revetments and storage areas removed along an area known as Finger 6, at Pangong Tso, in this handout satellite image provided by Maxar dated January 30, 2021 and February 16, 2021 respectively. Photo: Maxar Technologies via Reuters  

India and China have completed disengagement on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso (lake) in eastern Ladakh, and the 10th round of Corps Commander talks are to be held in Moldo on the Chinese side around 10 a.m. on Saturday to discuss pullbacks from other friction areas, a defence official said on Friday.

Disengagement was fully complete as per an agreement and had been jointly verified by both sides, a second official said. In line with the agreement, all landforms have been restored to that as existed before April 2020.

As per the agreement for Pangong Tso, the next commanders talk is to be held within 48 hours after the completion of withdrawal from the lake. The process started on February 10, with tanks and mechanised columns being pulled back initially from the south bank.

The other major friction areas between the two countries are Gogra, Hot Springs and Depsang Plans. The focus of the next round of talks is expected to be on complete disengagement from the friction points at Gogra and Hot Springs. Some pullback had taken place at Patrolling Points (PP) 15 and 17A in Gogra and Hot Springs, and the process stopped after the developments on the south bank of the lake in end-August.

The second official said that with disengagement completed on both the banks, withdrawal from the PP15 and PP17A should not take too long and could be completed quickly once an agreement was reached.

Disengagement from PP14 at Galwan and partial disengagement from PP15 and 17A began in June last and continued in July even after the clash at Galwan on June 15.

Monitoring

With disengagement now complete, a moratorium on patrolling by both sides in the Pangong Tso area has come into effect. To ensure that there is no violation of the agreement by China, there is monitoring by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and cameras have been installed at several locations, the second official stated, adding that the entire area was visible from multiple heights.

On the north bank, Chinese troops have withdrawn to east of Finger 8, while Indian troops have moved back to the Dhan Singh Thapa post near Finger 3. As per the agreement, patrolling would be resumed only after diplomatic and military talks between the two sides.


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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 3:16:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-china-complete-disengagement-at-pangong-tso/article33877842.ece

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