What Rajnath Singh told Parliament on India, China disengagement at Pangong Tso
Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday told the Rajya Sabha that India and China have agreed to pull back troops from the northern and southern backs of Pangong Tso and said that both sides will carry out the disengagement process in a phased, coordinated and verified manner.
The decision was arrived at during the ninth round of talks between military commanders. Singh said, “to ensure disengagement in friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), it was our view that troops of both sides, who are now in close proximity, should vacate the forward deployments made in 2020 and return to the permanent and accepted bases.”
Here are key points from Rajnath Singh’s statement in Parliament on ‘current’ Ladakh situation:
- China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will move its forces to the east of Finger 8 on the north bank, and the Indian Army will move to its base near Finger 3. India and China have also agreed to temporarily suspend their regular patrolling activities on the north bank.
- Through the nine rounds of discussion, India has maintained the three key principles that determine its approach: (i) both sides should strictly respect and observe the LAC; (ii) neither side should attempt to alter the status quo unilaterally; and (iii) all agreements and understandings between the two sides must be fully abided by in their entirety.
- India has consistently maintained that while bilateral relations can develop in parallel with discussions on resolving the boundary question, any serious disturbance in peace and tranquility along the LAC in the border areas is bound to have adverse implications for the direction of our bilateral ties.
- Both sides agree that complete disengagement under bilateral agreements and protocol should be done at the earliest. China is also aware of India’s resolve to protect the sovereignty of the country. It is expected that China will work with us to resolve the remaining issues.
- Last year I informed this House that many friction areas have been formed in eastern Ladakh along the LAC. Adequate and effective counter deployments have been made by our armed forces in terms of India's security. Indian forces have steadily faced all these challenges and have shown their valor and bravery to the south and north bank of Pangong Tso.
- Many strategically important points were identified and our troops positioned themselves at those hill tops and at locations. It is because of the bravery of armed forces in the face of harsh adverse climatic conditions that India maintains the edge. Our armed forces proved yet again that territorial integrity of our country remains safe in their hands and their grit and determination to safeguard our borders is unwavering.
- There are still some outstanding issues regarding deployment and patrolling on LAC. The focus will be on these in further talks.
- The entire House, no matter what party it is, stands together on the question of sovereignty, unity, integrity and security of the country and supports with a single voice.
- India’s strategy and approach for dialogue is based on the guideline of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that we will not let anyone take our one inch of land. The result of our determination is that we have reached the position of agreement.
- In view of these guidelines, since September 2020, there have been several talks on both the military and diplomatic level continuously to find a mutually acceptable method of disengagement. So far, 9 rounds have been negotiated at the level of senior commanders.