Following a six-month long standoff in Ladakh, India and China have reportedly agreed to pull back their troops along the Line of Actual Control.
In a bid to ease tensions, the countries have agreed for a step-wise disengagement of the troops from the northern and southern banks of Pangong Tso lake. Beijing has proposed to withdraw 30 per cent of its armed forces in a graded manner.
The development comes amid the icy-cold winter, with armies of both countries exposed to temperatures as low as -20°C.
Withdrawing tanks and heavy weaponry from forward location at eastern Ladakh is the first step of disengagement; followed by Indian troops moving back to Finger 3 and PLA to Finger 8.
In the third step, India will vacate the 13 critical spots it occupies along the lake’s southern bank, which gave India an edge over China. PLA, on the other hand, will pull back from spots on the northern bank.
However, the 900sqkm Depsang Plains in Ladakh’s northern bank, where both sides have claims and counter-claims, is not a part of the proposal.
A senior Indian Army officer was quoted by Tribune India as saying: “It is a proposal, and not an agreement to disengage, let it be fine-tuned and matters to mature.”