After an intense nine-month border standoff, India and China began de-escalation in the contested Ladakh region on 10 February, the Chinese Defence Ministry said. The two Asian giants have deployed thousands of troops in the eastern Ladakh region since a deadly clash on 15 June 2020 in the Galwan Valley over border infrastructure.
Confirming that disengagement has started in a phased manner in eastern Ladakh, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that India is of the view that the forward deployments of 2020 should end and both armies should return to their permanent and recognised posts.
In a significant development, the minister announced that patrolling by both India and China will be suspended in the Finger Area of Pangong Tso (north) for a while and Indian troops will recede to Finger 3 and China will move eastward till Finger 8.
Pangong Tso is a lake shared between the two countries and demarcated on maps as “fingers”. Indian troops have been restricted from patrolling beyond Finger 4 since April after China deployed troops there. Traditionally, India used to patrol up to Finger 8, where it claims the LAC is. However, China lays claim up to Finger 4 and dominates the area.
The minister emphasised that India and China agree that complete disengagement under bilateral agreements and protocols should be done at the earliest moment.
“China is also aware of our resolve to protect the sovereignty of the…