Pangong disengagement: Delhi cautious, points to work in progress; military, diplomatic moves shaped result

While the start of the disengagement process at Pangong Tso is a significant breakthrough in the nine-month military standoff with China, New Delhi wants to avoid any chest thumping, its tone measured as it treads carefully to achieve its objective of returning to the pre-standoff situation on the ground.

“This is a work in progress. Chest thumping is not desirable in these situations. This is just one step towards the April 2020 situation. One has to tread cautiously as there are several unresolved issues,” a government source said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s measured tone in Parliament Thursday underscored the need to avoid any kind of chest thumping from the ruling establishment pending the resolution of unresolved issues.

While armoured units south of Pangong Tso have started moving out, sources said there has also been some thinning of troops but personnel at Rechin La and Rezang La will remain at their current positions until disengagement happens to the satisfaction of New Delhi. These are key positions occupied by Indian forces in August last year to counter the Chinese build-up along the LAC.

On Saturday, the two sides will verify the progress claimed by each side, following which the next course of action will be decided.

“The agreement is to simultaneously withdraw a fixed portion of artillery and troops from specific points. This will be verified after each side confirms the same has been achieved. The next day, ground commanders…

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