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Full Pangong pullback expected in two weeks

Rajnath says vacated space on the banks of the lake will be a no-go zone for both sides; disengagement elsewhere later.

Published: 12th February 2021 07:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th February 2021 07:59 AM   |  A+A-

armoured vehicles start moving as part of disengagement in the Pangong Tsu | PTI

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  A day after the Sino-Indian disengagement began from standoff positions in Eastern Ladakh, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday confirmed the pull back in a “phased, coordinated and verified manner” in Parliament, and gave a sense of how the whole process is expected to unspool. While the Chinese Army will move back to the east of Finger 8, the Indian Army will fall back to Dhan Singh Thapa post, short of Finger 3 in the North bank area of the Pangong Lake.

A similar disengagement began on the South Bank of the lake on Wednesday. Full disengagement on both sides of the lake is expected in 10-15 days, a senior officer said. After the drawdown from Finger 4, Rajnath said, unless a decision is taken otherwise, the area in between will be a no-go zone for both sides. “It has also been agreed to have a temporary moratorium on military activities by both sides in the North Bank, including patrolling to the traditional areas.

MAKING A NEW BEGINNING
Clockwise from left: Indian and Chinese officers interact on Thursday

Patrolling will be resumed only when both sides reach an agreement in diplomatic and military talks that would be held subsequently.” A similar action would be taken in the South Bank area by both sides, he said. Given the sensitivities involved, local commanders of both sides are meeting twice a day to iron out the wrinkles. India is wary, as a similar disengagement in the past was dishonoured by the Chinese side earlier in the hot spring area, although they had withdrawn from the Galwan Valley. Within 48 hours after this phase is over, Corps Commanders of both sides will meet to work on other positions of the stand-off.

STRUCTURES BUILT AFTER APRIL 2020 TO BE REMOVED
On the heights India occupied in Rechen La and Razang La on the Kailash Ranges and fortified its positions, Rajnath said structures raised by both sides will be removed.

“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 and the landforms will be restored.” He said nothing has been conceded as part of the agreements



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