File Photo
File Photo

There is tell-tale evidence of slight disengagement between Indian and Chinese troops, which is aimed at clearing the contentious 'Finger 4' area on the northern bank of Pangong Lake.

The exercise started on Wednesday, as per a consensus reached between the two sides during the ninth round of military commander-level talks.

There was no official word from a wary New Delhi but if the Chinese official statement is to be believed, the nine month-long stand-off between the two Asian giants has come to an end.

A spokesperson of China's Ministry of National Defence, Wu Qian, said: "As per a consensus reached in the last round of talks, the frontline units of the Chinese and Indian armed forces in Pangong Hunan and North Coast began to simultaneously and systematically organize disengagement on February 10."

Since May last year, Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in skirmishes along the LAC near Pangong Lake in Ladakh and the Tibet Autonomous region. In one such violent clash, 20 Indian soldiers and over 40 Chinese troops were killed in the Galwan valley on June 15-16. Amid the face-off, India rushed massive reinforcements to Ladakh.

Though both sides disengaged in the Galwan valley in July, the stand-off continued at critical points at Pangong and PP17A. In August, Indian troops gained control of multiple strategic heights in Chushul sector along the LAC, which changed the overall equation.

According to a media report (ref: India Today), the understanding is that China will move back to Finger 8 and Indian troops will pull back to the Dhan Singh Thapa post between Finger 2 and 3. There will be no patrolling by either side at Finger 4.

These sources added that while marginal thinning of troops has taken place, removal of tanks and weapons is yet to happen.

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Free Press Journal