- An agreement on disengagement in Ladakh has been reached by India and China
- Both sides will withdraw in phased, verified manner, as said by the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
- India would not permit the taking of even an inch of its territory, he said
India and China reached an agreement on disengagement on Pangong Tso in Ladakh, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in parliament today, providing details of a breakthrough following a prolonged stand-off and several rounds of talks between military commanders & diplomats of the two countries.
In the Upper House of the Parliament (Rajya Sabha), the Defence Minister said, “Our ongoing talks with China have led to disengagement agreements on the northern and southern banks of Pangong Lake. India-China will reduce forward deployments in a staggered, organized manner after this agreement,” in a statement.
While announcing the agreement he said, “I want to assure this House that we have not conceded anything in these talks. The agreement we were able to achieve with the Chinese side for disengagement in the Pangong lake region envisages that in a staggered, organized and verified matter and both sides would cease their forward deployments.”
Mr. Singh said the Chinese would maintain their troop presence east of Finger 8 in the North Bank region and the Indian troops would be based at their permanent base near Finger 3 at Dhan Singh Thapa Post.
Similar action will be taken by both sides in the South Bank.
The Defence Minister said, “These are joint and reciprocal measures and any structures constructed by both sides in the North and South Bank areas since April 2020 will be demolished and the landforms will be restored.”
The minister confirmed that both sides had also agreed to a moratorium on military operations in traditional areas of the North Bank, including patrolling. When both sides reached an understanding in diplomatic and military negotiations, patrolling will resume.
The disengagement began yesterday in the Pangong Lake North and South Bank and would “substantially restore” the situation before last year’s standoff began, the minister said.
Mr. Singh said that at some other points along the LAC in eastern Ladakh, there were still some unresolved problems with deployment and patrolling, and these would be the subject of further discussions.
“We agreed that both countries should at the earliest achieve complete disengagement and comply fully with bilateral agreements and protocols. The Chinese side is currently well aware of our resolve, too,” he said, praising soldiers who in Ladakh had shown grit and resolve under extremely harsh conditions.
Mr. Singh said India had never accepted the unjustified claims of China and would not allow it to take even an inch of its territory.
He said, “Pakistan illegally provided China with Indian land, and we do not accept such an arrangement. China also claims a significant portion of India’s land and we have never agreed to such unjustified claims.
“China has also stepped unilaterally in Ladakh, and India has and will continue to ensure the protection of our sovereignty. After China moved a large number of troops to the LAC, against our agreements, India also made large-scale preparations and moved in larger troops to safeguard our interests.”
Senior government sources reported in November last year that a disengagement plan had been prepared, but there was no consensus on its implementation. The strategy involved both sides pulling back armor from close to the LAC – tanks and armoured personnel carriers.
In May last year, tensions between India and China resurfaced with a series of skirmishes in the Pangong Lake area. The row escalated on June 14, when, in a physical clash in the Galwan Valley, 20 Indian soldiers died for the country.
Several rounds of talks have since been held to resolve the standoff.