By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 11, Feb 2021, 10:05 am IST | UPDATED: 11, Feb 2021, 10:05 am IST
Ladakh: In a big development, Beijing on Wednesday said that Chinese and Indian troops have started disengagement on the northern and southern banks of Pangong Tso (lake) in Ladakh.
The Chinese state media quoted the Chinese Defence Ministry as saying that the disengagement has begun as per the consensus reached during the ninth round of military commander-level talks.
“Chinese and Indian border troops on the southern and northern shores of Pangong Lake began disengagement as planned on Wednesday according to the consensus reached during the ninth round of military commander-level talks,” state-run Global Times tweeted, quoting China's Ministry of National Defence.
While no official comment was available so far from the Indian government or the military on disengagement at Pangong lake, Times Now’s Srinjoy Chowdhury reported that the pullback involves armoured vehicles. This means that armoured personnel vehicles and tanks are being moved back by China from the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
China has about 350 tanks in eastern Ladakh. These include ZTZ-99 and ZTZ-88 tanks and infantry combat vehicles.
The Central government is expected to make a statement in on this matter in Parliament.
"According to the consensus reached at the Chinese and Indian Foreign Ministers' meeting in Moscow and the ninth round of commander-level talks between the two sides, the frontline troops of the Chinese and the Indian militaries began to conduct simultaneous and planned disengagement in the Pangong Lake area on February 10. We hope the Indian side will work with China to meet each other halfway, strictly implement the consensus reached between the two sides and ensure the smooth implementation of the disengagement process," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
While consensus had been reached at the last round of talks on disengagement at Pangong Tso, action on the ground had remained stuck as Beijing wanted India to begin withdrawing from the southern bank first where it is in an advantageous position. New Delhi, however, stood firm on the People’s Liberation Army to withdraw first from the northern bank where it has positioned its troops upto Finger 4 area. India considers Finger 8 to be LAC.
While there are many standoff points, two key areas are Pangong Tso and Depsang.
It may also be recalled that on June 15 last year, Indian and Chinese troops had clashed at the Galwan Valley in Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers had lost their lives. An unspecified number of Chinese soldiers were also killed in that physical clash, but Beijing has never come clean on the figure. Indian and American intelligence put the Chinese toll near 40.