Disengagement in eastern Ladakh’s Pangong Tso in full swing, may be over soon

  • Disengagement between rival soldiers deployed on heights on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso began on February 10. The process is likely to be over by the weekend. Senior commanders of the two armies are likely to meet next week to discuss disengagement at other friction points.
China and India are pulling back front-line troops from disputed portions of their mountain border where they have been in a standoff for months. Both countries say the troops began the disengagement on February 10 at the southern and northern banks of Pangong Lake in the Ladakh region. (Indian Army via AP)
China and India are pulling back front-line troops from disputed portions of their mountain border where they have been in a standoff for months. Both countries say the troops began the disengagement on February 10 at the southern and northern banks of Pangong Lake in the Ladakh region. (Indian Army via AP)
Updated on Feb 16, 2021 02:21 AM IST
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The disengagement process in eastern Ladakh’s Pangong Tso area is in full swing, with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) knocking down military structures it had built since the border standoff began last May, people familiar with the developments said on Monday.

“PLA has removed a jetty near Finger 5 on the north bank of Pangong Tso. Some structures at a make-shift helipad are also gone. Observations towers, bunkers and shelters are being removed too. It’s part of the disengagement agreement,” said an official cited above.

Disengagement between rival soldiers deployed on heights on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso began on February 10. The process will be over by the weekend, said a second official. Senior commanders of the two armies are likely to meet next week to discuss disengagement at other friction points in eastern Ladakh, the official said.

PLA is retreating to its base east of Finger 8 on the north bank of Pangong Tso, while the Indian army is moving back to its permanent position near Finger 3. Neither side will patrol the contested areas in between until an agreement is reached through future talks.

In a statement in Parliament on February 11, defence minister Rajnath Singh said that structures built by both sides after April 2020 at heights on both banks of the lake will be removed. PLA had set up scores of structures in the Finger Area including bunkers, pillboxes, observation posts and tented camps.

Outstanding problems with PLA at Depsang, Hot Springs and Gogra - friction points on the contested border in eastern Ladakh - will be tackled after full disengagement in the Pangong Tso area.

The outstanding issues relating to deployment and patrolling at the three friction points will be taken up within 48 hours of pullback of troops in the Pangong Tso area.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021