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India-China reach agreement to disengage in Eastern Ladakh: Defence Minister

Our Bureau. New Delhi | Updated on February 11, 2021 Published on February 11, 2021

Rajnath Singh gives a break-up in the agreement of withdrawal of troops from friction points along the LAC

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that sustained dialogue with China have led to an agreement on disengagement along the North and South banks of Pangong Lake. Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on the situation in eastern Ladakh, the Defence Minister gave details of withdrawal of troops from all points of friction along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.

The agreement between India and China specifies that both sides will cease their forward deployments in a phased and coordinated manner. The Defence Minister gave a break-up of the disengagement.

‘Temporary moratorium’

“The Chinese side will keep its troop presence in the North Bank area to east of Finger 8. Reciprocally, the Indian troops will be based at their permanent base at Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3. A similar action would be taken in the South Bank area by both sides. 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,” said the Defence Minister.

He said a temporary moratorium has been agreed on military activities by both sides in the North Bank, including patrolling to the traditional areas. Patrolling will resume only when both sides reach an agreement in further diplomatic and military talks.

“The implementation of this agreement has started yesterday in the North and South Bank of the Pangong Lake. It will substantially restore the situation to that existing prior to the commencement of the stand-off last year,” said the Minister.

‘Illegal occupation’

According to Singh, China is in illegal occupation of more than 43,000 square kilometres of Indian territory since 1962 and it also claimed 90,000 sq km of Indian territory in the Eastern Sector of the India-China boundary in Arunachal Pradesh, a position India has never accepted. The Defence Minister did not give a chronological break-up of how much of the 43,000 sq. km of Indian territory occupied by the Chinese since 1962, including in the incursions last year. He stated that the Chinese had amassed large number of troops and armaments in the borders areas adjacent to Eastern Ladakh and had made several attempts to transgress the LAC in various parts in April-May, 2020. Subsequently, since September, 2020, efforts were made to de-escalate tensions and the agreement announced in the Rajya Sabha was a result of these high-level interactions between the two countries.

“The actions by the Chinese side since last year have seriously disturbed peace and tranquility. Consequently they have also had an impact on the overall relationship. In our various high level interactions with the Chinese side, including in my own meeting with Chinese Defence Minister last September, my colleague the External Affairs Minister Shri Jaishankarji’s meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister and NSA Shri Doval’s conversation with his Chinese counterpart, we have made it clear that the foremost need was to ensure disengagement in all the friction points along the LAC in the Western Sector so as to help restore peace and tranquility,” said the Minister.

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Published on February 11, 2021
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