China's People's Liberation Army pulls back from Pangong area along LAC

The Chinese and Indian armies have continued with the disengagement process in the North and South banks of Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh as per plan. 

Tanks head home

The Chinese and Indian armies continued with the disengagement process in the North and South banks of Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh as per plan and the entire pullback exercise is expected to take another six-seven days, sources in the defence and security establishment said on Monday.

The sources said the Chinese People's Liberation Army(PLA) has already removed several bunkers, temporary posts and other structures in the northern bank areas while gradually thinning down their troops in the region.

They said field commanders of both the sides are meeting almost on a daily basis to take forward the disengagement process which was finalised last week following nine rounds of high-level military talks.

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Disengagement process underway at Pangong

It will take at least a week for the disengagement process to be completed in the North and South banks of Pangong Tso, they said, adding both sides are carrying out verification of withdrawal of troops and equipment.

After nine months of standoff, the two armies reached an agreement on disengagement in the North and South banks of Pangong lake that mandates both sides to cease forward deployment of troops in a "phased, coordinated and verifiable" manner.

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China has to pull back its troops to east of Finger 8

The disengagement began on Wednesday last. On Thursday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made a detailed statement in Parliament on the disengagement pact.

According to the agreement, China has to pull back its troops to east of Finger 8 areas in the northern bank while the Indian personnel will be based at their permanent base at Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3 in the region. Similar action will take place on the southern bank of the lake as well, Singh had said.

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Row over Finger area

Last year, the Chinese military built several bunkers and other structures in the areas between Finger 4 and 8 and had blocked all Indian patrols beyond Finger 4, triggering strong reaction from the Indian Army.

In the nine rounds of military talks, India was specifically insisting on withdrawal of Chinese troops from Finger 4 to Finger 8 on the North bank of Pangong Lake. The mountain spurs in the area are referred to as Fingers.

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Problems in Depsang, Hot Springs and Gogra

The sources said following completion of the disengagement process, the two sides will hold talks on the de-escalation exercise.

Defence minister Singh had told Parliament that it was agreed to convene the next meeting of senior commanders of both sides within 48 hours of completion of the disengagement in the Pangong lake area so as to resolve all other remaining issues.

On Friday, the defence ministry said other outstanding "problems" including in Depsang, Hot Springs and Gogra will be taken up at the upcoming talks between military commanders of the two countries.

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'Our forces have defended LAC bravely'

A day after China said it was pulling back troops from the Line of Actual Control(LAC), India's defence minister Rajnath Singh speaking in Parliament asserted that, "Chinese transgression was answered in an appropriate manner by Indian forces."

India's defence minister had said disengagement with China has been agreed and both sides will reduce military activity. Rajnath Singh told Parliament that China will move its troops to the east of Finger 8 at the north bank of Pangong Lake and India will move towards Finger 3 to the administrative camp.

"China in April-May 2020 had increased the number of troops at LAC," India's defence minister told India's upper House of Parliament, adding, "our forces have defended LAC bravely."

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'Indian soldiers gave a befitting reply'

"We've begun talks over north-south bank of Pangong Lake. Some issues over deployment at LAC are yet to be resolved, both sides have agreed that complete disengagement be done at the earliest," he said. 

"Indian soldiers gave a befitting reply on the China border," Rajnath Singh said.

"India has always reiterated to China that bilateral issues can succeed only through efforts by both nations and border issues can only be resolved through dialogue," India's defence minister said, adding,"our security forces have proved that they are ready to face any challenge to protect the sovereignty of the country."

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'We will not give one inch of land to anyone'

"We will not give one inch of land to anyone," Rajnath Singh said. India's defence minister said that disengagement along the LAC will bring peace.

"China has collected heavy force & arms and ammunition near LAC and in the nearby area on its side. Our forces have also adequate and effectively done counter-deployment," India's defence minister said.

"Since last year, we have maintained relationship with China on military and diplomatic levels. During the talks, we told China that we want a solution on the issue based on three principles," the defence minister said.

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