As has already been stated by the defence minister Rajnath Singh in Rajya Sabha last week, once the disengagement at Pangong Tso Lake is complete, then within 48 hours the Corps Commander talks will take place.
The Chinese troops have started clearing the Finger 4 area on the North bank of the Pangong Tso. (Image: Indian Army)
On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, the Indian Army shared visuals of the ongoing disengagement process on north and south banks of Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh. This almost marks one week since the process of disengagement at Pangong Tso started between the Indian and Chinese troops. The Chinese troops have started clearing the Finger 4 area on the North bank of the Pangong Tso.
According to officials, “Even the huge map of China, which was engraved on the ground by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) near Finger 5 area has been cleared up by them. This map was seen in the satellite images during the height of the standoff between the armies of both countries.”
There were heavy stuctures and defences built by the Chinese troops between Finger 8 to Finger 4. This also included the fortified gun positions on the ridgelines of Finger 4 which was overlooking Indian positions.
To gain tactical advantage, amid action on the South bank of Pangong Tso in August 2020, the Indian Army had also set up positions around the Finger 4.
What are officials saying about the process?
The process is expected to be completed by the end of this week and the disengagement is going at a good pace.
The stocking of all the heavy equipment has been done, the transportation of these are going on as well as the dismantling of the structures built by both sides.
Once this is over, then …
These talks are expected to happen next week where the focus will be on the Phase II of disengagement and the friction points at Gogra and Hot Springs.
According to reports, some disengagement is being undertaken at Patrolling Points (PP) 15 and 17A. This means, there will be complete disengagement there soon.
As reported earlier, last June and July the majority of troops had been pulled back during the disengagement process from PP 15 and 17A. However, tensions flared up between the two sides on the south bank of the lake late August 2020, and the process got scuttled.
This is the biggest issue of concern between the two sides. Why? Because there have been developments there much before the standoff in May last year. According to officials, the Chinese troops have been blocking Indian Army patrols from patrolling up to the PPs 10 to 13 in the Depsang Plains.