New Delhi, Feb 13: The Indian government has reiterated that the military commander level talks between India and China will take place 48 hours after complete disengagement at the Pangong Tso area.
The Ministry of External Affairs said that both countries have agreed to convene the10th round senior commander level talks after the disengagement at Pangong Tso is complete. The next level of talks would focus on the remaining issues.
Meanwhile, sources tell OneIndia that the next round of talks would focus extensively on the disengagement at the Depsang Plains. The issues at the friction points will be taken up one by one and talks would continue until the complete disengagement takes place, the source also said.
Standing our ground: How India’s national security planners ensured disengagement at LAC
Chinese and Indian militaries continued to pull back armoured elements and thinning down of troops in areas around Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh as part of an agreement reached between the two sides on the disengagement process, military sources said on Friday.
While armoured elements like battle tanks and armoured personnel carriers are being withdrawn from friction points in the south bank of Pangong Tso, troops are being pulled back from the north bank areas, they said.
The sources said withdrawal of armoured elements from the south bank of Pangong Tso is almost complete and temporary structures erected by both sides will be demolished in the next few days.
“The disengagement process will take time as both sides are together carrying out verification of the withdrawal of troops and military hardware,” said a source.
The disengagement of troops and armoured elements is limited to the friction points where the two sides were on an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation, sources said.
After a nine-month standoff, the two militaries reached the agreement on disengagement in the north and south banks of Pangong lake that mandates both sides to cease forward deployment of troops in a “phased, coordinated and verifiable” manner.
On Thursday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made a detailed statement in Parliament on the disengagement pact.
According to the agreement, China has to pull back its troops to east of Finger 8 areas in the northern bank while the Indian personnel will be based at their permanent base at Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3 in the region.
Similar action will take place on the south bank of the lake as well, Singh said in Parliament.
Last year, the Chinese military built several bunkers and other structures in the areas between Finger 4 and 8 and had blocked all Indian patrols beyond Finger 4, triggering strong reaction from the Indian Army.
The disengagement plan in Eastern Ladakh explained
In the nine rounds of military talks, India was specifically insisting on withdrawal of Chinese troops from Finger 4 to Finger 8 on the North bank of Pangong Lake.
The mountain spurs in the area are referred to as Fingers.
The sources said following completion of the disengagement process, the two sides will hold talks on the de-escalation process.
They said field commanders of both the armies have been holding talks on a daily basis in the last few days to coordinate the disengagement process.