New Delhi: India and China have reached an agreement on disengagement of troops from the north and south banks of the Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
Singh's statement in Rajya Sabha came a day after the Chinese defence ministry said in Beijing that Indian and Chinese troops started "synchronised" disengagement at the south and north banks of Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh.
Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a bitter standoff in eastern Ladakh for over nine months.
The Chinese defence ministry has said that the frontline troops of China and India at the south and north banks of the Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh started "synchronised and organised" disengagement from Wednesday.
In his statement in Rajya Sabha, Singh said both sides will cease their forward deployments in a phased, coordinated and verified manner in these areas.
Here are top quotes from Rajnath Singh's statement in Rajya Sabha:
"We are committed to maintaining a peaceful situation at the Line of Control. India has always emphasised on maintaining bilateral ties," Singh said in the Upper House.
The defence minister assured the House that India has not conceded anything while entering into the disengagement process, adding there are "some outstanding issues" with regard to deployment and patrolling at some other points along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
"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 said.
Singh said the agreement reached 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. "Our sustained talks with China have led to agreement on disengagement on the north and south banks of Pangong Lake. After this agreement, India-China will remove forward deployments in a phased, coordinated manner."
"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," he said.
"A 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 North and South Bank area will be removed," Singh said.
"Many fraction areas are built near LAC in Eastern Ladakh. China has collected heavy force and arms and ammunition near LAC and in the nearby area on their side. Our forces have also adequate & effectively done counter deployment," he further said.
"We've begun talks over North-South bank of Pangong Lake. Some issues over deployment at LAC are yet to be resolved. Both sides agreed that complete disengagement to be done at the earliest," the Defence Minister said in his statement in Rajya Sabha.
"Since last year, we have maintained relationship with China on military and diplomatic levels. During the talks, we told China that we want solution of 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," he added.
(With PTI inputs)