After announcing the disengagement agreement on the north and west bank of Pangong Lake, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that Beijing will keep its troops to the east of Finger 8 at the north of the bank of Pangong Lake, while India will keep its troops at its permanent base near Finger 3.
Speaking in Rajya Sabha on the present situation in Eastern Ladakh, Defence Minister said that as per the agreement, both sides will cease their forward deployments in a phased, coordinated and verified manner.
“The agreement that we have been able to reach with the Chinese side for disengagement in the Pangong lake area envisages that both sides will cease their forward deployments in a phased, coordinated and verified manner. The Chinese side will keep its troop presence in the North Bank area to the east of Finger 8. Reciprocally, the Indian troops will be based at their permanent base at Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3,” Rajnath Singh said.
It has been agreed to have a temporary moratorium on military activities by both the sides in the North Bank, including patrolling to the traditional areas. Patrolling will be resumed only when bost sides reach an agreement in diplomatic and military talks that would be held subsequently, he added.
He further added, “Similar action would be taken in the South Bank area by both sides. These are mutual and reciprocal steps and any structures that had been built by both sides since April 2020 in both the North and South Bank area will be removed and the landforms will be restored.”
The Defence Minister stated that India has always told China that bilateral relations can only be maintained by mutual efforts and any impact on peace and tranquillity on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), will adversely affect the ties between the two countries.
“Since last year, we have maintained a relationship with China on military and diplomatic levels. During the talks, we told China that we want a solution to the issue based on three principles. First, both parties must agree on LAC and respect it. Secondly, there shouldn’t be an attempt to change the status unilaterally, by any party. Thirdly, all the compromises should be completely agreed upon by both parties,” said Singh.
India and China had agreed to push for an early disengagement of the frontline troops in eastern Ladakh during the ninth round of the China-India Corps Commander Level meeting held on the Chinese side of the Moldo-Chushul border meeting point on January 24 to address the ongoing military standoff.
The two countries have been engaged in a stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since April-May last year. While China began amassing massive military strength along the LAC, India responded with a befitting build-up.