India and China have begun “synchronised and organised disengagement” from the north and south banks of Pangong Lake, a Chinese defence ministry spokesperson said Wednesday afternoon.
India has not yet skilled Colonel Wu Qian’s statement. However, sources told the govt isn’t denying the reports from the Chinese defence ministry.
“The Chinese and Indian frontline troops at the southern and northern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake start synchronised and organised disengagement from February 10,” Senior Colonel Wu Qian, China’s defence spokesperson, said during a written statement.
Colonel Qian said the move was in accordance with the consensus reached after the ninth round of military commander-level talks persisted the Chinese side of the Moldo-Chushul border last month.
India had said those talks finished on a “positive, practical and constructive” note, which each side had agreed to “push for an early disengagement”.
The talks – the ninth round lasted for over 15 hours – are aimed toward defusing tension along the road of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, and finding an answer to the nine-month stand-off.
In November last year senior government sources said a three-phase plan for disengagement had been readied but there was no agreement on implementation. That plan included each side pulling back armour – tanks and armoured personnel carriers – from on the brink of the LAC.
India-China tensions spiked in May last year after skirmishes within the Pangong Lake region, and worsened after the Flag Day clash in Galwan Valley, during which 20 Indian soldiers died for the country.
Two weeks ago the Indian Army confirmed the 2 sides clashed another time – this point along the LAC in Sikkim. the military said it had been a “minor face-off” with “insignificant and minor injuries” which tensions were “resolved by local commanders as per established protocols”.
In September the 2 sides fired 100-200 rounds of “warning shots” on the north bank of the lake. Sources said this was after India made key moves to determine a post overlooking Chinese troops.
A week prior Chinese troops approached Indian positions on the southern bank and fired within the air. They were armed with spears and rifles, and allegedly tried to force a fight almost like the one in June.
Currently some 50,000 Indian troops are deployed during a high state of combat readiness in sub-zero conditions in mountainous locations across eastern Ladakh.
China has deployed an equal number of troops, officials have said.
Also in September there was a serious build-up of Chinese tanks and infantry within the South Pangong region; sources told tanks had been detected near Chinese positions in Moldo.
In January Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stressed that India won’t reduce the amount of its troops unless China initiates the method . Mr Singh, chatting with news channel Times Now, had said: “There is not any deadline when it involves matter just like the ongoing standoff. you cannot fix a date.”