‘Disengagement plan at Pangong Tso finalised’, says Rajnath Singh on China row
Rajnath Singh's remarks come a day after the Chinese defence ministry said that both sides have begun disengaging on the southern and northern banks of Pangong Tso
India and China have reached an agreement for disengagement at southern and northern banks of Pangong Tso Lake, defence minister Rajnath Singh said in a statement in Parliament on Thursday. He said that during the ninth round of Corps Commander-level military talks, it was decided that both the sides will remove forward deployments in a phased and coordinated manner.
The minister said that India has always emphasised on maintaining bilateral ties and is committed to maintaining peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Singh said both sides agree that complete disengagement under bilateral pacts and protocol should be done at the earliest.
He told the Rajya Sabha that China’s People's Liberation Army (PLA) will pull back to east of Finger 8 and Indian Army will move to its permanent base near Finger 3. The commanders of both sides will hold a meeting following the completion of disengagement in the Pangong area, Singh said.
The defence minister assured the House that India has not lost anything and informed there are still some outstanding issues regarding deployment and patrolling on LAC.
India had rushed frontline tanks and armoured vehicles to the strategic heights held by its soldiers on the southern bank in September last year, in response to intimidating moves by the PLA.
His remarks come a day after the Chinese defence ministry said that both sides have begun disengaging on the southern and northern banks of Pangong Tso. Chinese defence ministry’s spokesperson Senior Colonel Wu Qian said the move was in accordance with the consensus reached by both sides during the meeting of military commanders held on the Chinese side of the Moldo-Chushul border meeting point on January 24.
There was, however, no official word from the Indian side on Wednesday while people familiar with the matter told HT that both sides have started pulling back armoured elements – tanks and infantry combat vehicles – from heights on the southern bank of Pangong lake.
The LAC passes through Pangong lake, parts of which are controlled by Indian and Chinese troops. Both sides also patrol the waters of the lake in special boats.