Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday informed the Rajya Sabha that through sustained talks, both Indian and China have reached an agreement for disengagement on the north and west bank of Pangong Lake.
Speaking on the present situation in Eastern Ladakh, Defence Minister said, “I am happy to inform the House today that as a result of our well thought out approach and sustained talks with the Chinese side, we have now been able to reach an agreement on disengagement in the North and South Bank of the Pangong Lake.”
“It has also been agreed to convene the next meeting of the Senior Commanders within 48 hours after the complete disengagement in the Pangong Lake area so as to address and resolve all other remaining issues,” he added.
As per the agreement reached by the two sides, India and China will withdraw the forward deployment in a phased and coordinated manner, the Defence Minister said.
“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,” he said.
He further informed that China will keep its troops to the east of the Finger 8 at the north bank of Pangong Lake while India will keep its troops near Finger 3.
“The Chinese side will keep its troop presence in the North Bank area to east of Finger 8. Reciprocally, the Indian troops will be based at their permanent base at Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3,” said Defence Minister.
Similar action would be taken in the South Bank area by both sides, he added.
“These are mutual and reciprocal steps and any structures that had been built by both sides since April 2020 in both North and South Bank area will be removed and the landforms will be restored. It has also been agreed to have a temporary moratorium on military activities by both sides in the North Bank, including patrolling to the traditional areas,” Defence Minister said.
Over the issues of patrolling in the Pangong Lake, Singh said, “Patrolling will be resumed only when both sides reach an agreement in diplomatic and military talks that would be held subsequently. The implementation of this agreement has started yesterday in the North and South Bank of the Pangong Lake.”
Previously, 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.