Nine months since they first got into an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation in east Ladakh, armored units of the Indian Army and therefore the People’s Liberation Army started withdrawing from north and south banks of the frozen Pangong Tso on Wednesday morning, paving how for peace and tranquillity to be restored right along the road of Actual Control with China.
PLA had withdrawn more than 200 main battle tanks from the south banks of Pangong Tso and had positioned no but 100 heavy vehicles to ferry its troops from fingers on north banks to the Srijap sector, east of Finger 8. The speed of Chinese withdrawal has actually surprised the Indian army brass and national security planners.
Top officialdom said on condition of anonymity that the disengagement at Pangong Tso began at 9 am on Wednesday after an agreement was reached between India and China after several rounds of back-channel negotiations handled by top ministers and officials, including external affairs minister S Jaishankar and National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval, with their counterparts in Beijing. the result was achieved after India stood firm on its position in east Ladakh and its aim of not conceding any territory.
The speed of Chinese withdrawal since Wednesday also shows their capacity to deploy. it’s a military art. The Indian side has also pulled back its armor but contingency plans are ready just in case of a worst-case scenario, said one among the officials, a senior member of the Narendra Modi government.
The officials added that as of Thursday evening, the disengagement in east Ladakh was proceeding to the satisfaction of both parties with the target of restoring established order ante right along the 1,597km Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. That India has been ready to convince China, which boasts the most important army within the world and a rising superpower, to travel back to its permanent base camp is not any mean achievement, the officials acknowledged.
According to the officials, both PLA and therefore the Indian Army will withdraw their troops and positions from the agreed positions by Saturday. The agreement was that the disengagement would be completed in three days, they added.
According to the officials cited above, once the withdrawal of armor and artillery, and troops has been completed from Pangong Tso, the 2 sides will initiate negotiations on disengagement from patrolling point 15 (Gogra) and 17 (Hot Springs) area, north of Pangong Tso.
Defense minister Rajnath Singh issued a press release on the phased, coordinated, and verifiable pullback by the 2 armies in Rajya Sabha on Thursday. the bottom positions were negotiated between the 2 corps commanders and therefore the framework through the diplomatic channel.
The government officials said that the elemental tenet behind the disengagement is that both armies will eventually return to their permanent bases as existed in April 2020. this suggests that while PLA withdraws to the Srijap sector, east of Finger 8 mountainous spur on the north bank the Indian Army withdraws to its permanent base on finger three named after legendary 1962 war PVC winner Lt Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa. an equivalent rule has been applied to the south bank with both armies returning to their permanent bases in Chushul (Indian Army) and Moldo (PLA).
The Galway model has been replicated on both banks. After the Galway June 15, 2020 clash, each side has withdrawn to permanent bases with no patrolling from side till such time patrolling protocols are framed. After the withdrawal is completed and confidence-building measures initiated by both armies, the 2 sides can choose coordinated, joint, or staggered patrolling, said a senior official conversant in the small print of the whole exercise.
India’s negotiating position received a lift after Indian Army troopers took over the heights of Rezang La Rechin La alignment on Kailash Range on August 29 and 30, 2020, despite valid fears of the move escalating into a full-blown India-China conflict. even as the Chinese PLA tried to enforce the 1959 LAC line by aggression on Finger 4, the Indian side countered by achieving its military objective of holding up the Kailash Range line as per the Indian perception of LAC.