Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “Our sustained talks with China have led to agreement on disengagement on the north and south banks of Pangong Lake.”
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today in parliament, giving details of a breakthrough after a protracted stand-off and several rounds of talks between military commanders and diplomats, said India and China have reached an agreement on disengagement at Pangong Tso in Ladakh.
The Defence Minister, in his statement in Rajya Sabha, said: “Our sustained talks with China have led to agreement on disengagement on the north and south banks of Pangong Lake. After this agreement, India-China will remove forward deployments in a phased, coordinated manner.”
“I want to assure this House that in these talks we have not conceded anything. The agreement that we have been able to reach with the Chinese side for disengagement in the Pangong lake area envisages that both sides will cease their forward deployments in a phased, coordinated and verified manner,” he added.
The Chinese would keep their troop presence in the North Bank area to east of Finger 8 and the Indian troops would be based at their permanent base at Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3, Mr Singh said. Similar action would be taken in the South Bank by both sides, he added.
“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,” the Defense Minister said.
Both sides had also agreed to a moratorium on military activities in the North Bank, including patrolling, in traditional areas, Mr Singh said, adding that patrolling would be resumed when both sides reached an agreement in diplomatic and military talks.
The minister said the disengagement started yesterday in the North and South Bank of the Pangong Lake and would “substantially restore” the situation to that before the standoff began last year.
He also added that there were still some outstanding issues on deployment and patrolling at some other points along the LAC in eastern Ladakh and these would be the focus of further discussions.
“We have agreed that both sides should achieve complete disengagement at the earliest and abide fully by the bilateral agreements and protocols. By now, the Chinese side is also fully aware of our resolve,” Mr Singh said. He also praised soldiers who had shown grit and resolve under extremely harsh conditions in Ladakh.
India had never accepted China’s unjustified claims and would not allow even an inch of its territory to be taken, Mr Singh said.
“Pakistan has illegally given India’s land to China, and we do not recognise such an arrangement. China also claims a large area of India’s land, and we have never agreed to such unwarranted claims,” he said.
“In Ladakh too, China moved unilaterally, and India has and will continue to ensure that our sovereignty is maintained. After China moved a large number of troops to the LAC, against our agreements, India too has made large-scale arrangements and moved in increased troops to safeguard our interests,” he added.
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