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Clash in LAC: PLA and Indian Troops Begin Withdrawal Process, Says Chinese Defense Ministry | India News

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NEW DELHI: India and China began the initial disengagement in the Pangong Tso area of ​​eastern Ladakh on Wednesday, the first relaxation after a protracted military confrontation, by removing some tanks, howitzers and armored vehicles. This will be followed by the withdrawal of rival front-line troops from “sticking points” if the gradual de-escalation plan does not derail as it did after the Galwan Valley skirmish in June last year.
The Chinese Defense Ministry in Beijing announced the “synchronized and organized disengagement” of the northern and southern shores of Pangong Tso in accordance with the “consensus reached” in the ninth round of corps commander-level talks on January 24.
“Initial steps are positive on both the northern and southern shores of Pangong Tso, and there is simultaneous mutual backtracking without problems. But it will be a long way in the sequential process of disconnection, de-escalation and desinduction, with progress monitored and verified at each stage, ”said a leading Indian source.
Indian troops continue to maintain their tactically advantageous positions on the ridge line in the Chushul sector, which runs from Thakung to Gurung Hill, Spanggur Gap, Magar Hill, Mukhpari, Rezang La and Reqin La (Rechin mountain pass). , which they occupied on August 28-30, sources said.
However, there was no official news of India’s ongoing withdrawal on Wednesday. Instead, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh will make a formal statement in Rajya Sabha on Thursday on the “current situation in eastern Ladakh,” officials said.
The powerful China Study Group also met Tuesday to discuss disengagement in the more than nine-month-long military standoff, in which soldiers were killed on both sides for the first time in more than 45 years.
The sources said that the mutual withdrawal of heavy weapons such as tanks had started from the southern bank of the Pangong Tso-Kailash mountain range in the Chushul sector. “The rival tanks were very close to each other. Any inadvertent mistakes could have led to a vertical climb and things got out of hand, ”said a source.
But there was no clarity on whether the two sides will stick to the original plan in the “Finger” area (mountain spurs) on the north shore of Pangong Tso. Both parties had earlier more or less agreed that the Indian soldiers would retreat to their post at Dhan Singh Thapa between Finger-2 and Finger-3, with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops retreating to their positions east of Finger- 8, with the area being designated a ‘no patrol zone’ for the foreseeable future.
The PLA has occupied and fortified the 8 km stretch between Finger-4 and Finger 8, where India maintains that the Royal Line of Control runs from north to south, since the beginning of May.
Nor has there been any talk yet about reducing opposing military build-ups on the strategically located Depsang Plains, where Chinese soldiers have been preventing Indian troops from going to their traditional patrol points since at least May last year.
India’s need to exercise extreme caution to disconnect even at the immediate “sticking points” in Pangong Tso, Chushul and Gogra-Hotsprings was reinforced after Colonel B Santosh Babu and 19 other Indian soldiers were killed during the violent skirmish with the PLA after it reneged on the agreement to dismantle an observation post in the Galwan Valley on June 15.
But there was general optimism Wednesday that the disconnect would now occur at “sticking points.” TOI has been reporting since October-November last year that although India and China had generally agreed to withdraw troops and heavy weaponry from the “ sticking points ” in the Pangong Tso-Chushul area, the exact modalities and sequence of steps were proving difficult to finish so far.

Times of India

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