India, China to dismantle structures built during standoff since April-May
NEW DELHI: As part of the disengagement proposals being discussed between India and China, the two sides would dismantle any new structures that have come up during the ongoing standoff since April-May this year in the Pangong lake area.
There would also be no patrolling activity by either side between the Finger 4 and Finger 8 as China has given up on its old stand to maintain an observation post in the area, sources told a news agency.
The issue of Depsang plains would be discussed between the two countries separately where the Chinese have blocked some patrolling points of the Indian Army and a couple of other patrolling points of the Indian Army where Chinese have not yet disengaged entirely during the first phase of disengagement are also to be resolved soon. The proposals are being discussed as the armies of the two countries have reached an agreement to discuss stepwise disengagement from parts of the Eastern Ladakh sector under which they would be moving back to their respective positions before April-May timeframe earlier this year.
The disengagement plan was discussed between the two sides during the 8th Corps Commander-level talks which were held on November 6 in Chushul. As per the disengagement plan which is to be carried out in three steps in one week from the talks in the Pangong lake area, the armoured vehicles including tanks and armoured personnel carriers were to be moved back from their frontline deployment to a significant distance from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by both sides.
As per the discussions, the disengagement of tanks and armoured personnel carriers was to be carried out within one day. The talks were held on November 6 in which External Affairs Ministry's Joint Secretary Naveen Shrivastava and Brigadier Ghai of Directorate General of Military Operations had taken part. In the second step to be carried out near the northern bank on the Pangong lake, both sides were supposed to withdraw around 30 per cent of troops every day for three days. The Indian side agreed to come close to its administrative Dhan Singh Thapa post while the Chinese had consented to go back to their position east of Finger 8.
In the third and last step, the two sides were to withdraw from their respective positions from the frontline along the southern bank of Pangong lake area which includes the heights and territories around Chushul and Rezang La area.
The two sides had also agreed for a joint mechanism to verify the progress in the disengagement process through delegation meetings as well as using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The Indian side is moving very carefully on the issue as there is a lot of trust deficit with China after the Galwan valley clash in June this year in which 20 Indian soldiers had lost their lives and many Chinese army soldiers, including their Commanding Officer, were killed by the Indian troops.
Meanwhile, the border standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh is expected to be resolved peacefully "very shortly", the ITBP chief S S Deswal has said, adding the infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is also being ramped up at a rapid pace.
Talking to the news agency during a wide-ranging interview, the director general of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police(ITBP) said his troops have been provided with special winter clothing and nutritious food as they brave the severe chill in eastern Ladakh where the armies of India and China are locked in a tense standoff for over six months.
Asked about the current military standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, Deswal said "strains in bilateral relations are already evident but we are confident these will be sorted out peacefully very