Indian Army shares visuals of disengagement process in eastern Ladakh; exercise likely to conclude this week

Photos and videos showed the Chinese army withdrawing troops, removing of machinery and dismantling temporary structures like bunkers, posts and tents

Press Trust of India February 17, 2021 08:24:25 IST
Indian Army shares visuals of disengagement process in eastern Ladakh; exercise likely to conclude this week

Representational image. PTI

New Delhi: The Indian Army on Tuesday released short videos and photographs showing thinning down of troops and dismantling of bunkers, camps and other facilities by the Chinese military in the areas around the Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh in line with the agreed disengagement process between the two sides.

The visuals also showed the Chinese People's Liberation Army(PLA) using a bulldozer to flatten some structures, and vehicles with troops and equipment preparing to retreat to rear bases as part of the infantry disengagement.

The photos and videos largely depicted a fast-paced disengagement process in both the North and South banks of the Pangong lake that included withdrawal of troops, removal of machinery and dismantling of temporary structures like bunkers, posts and tents.

Sources in the defence and security establishment said the disengagement process is gathering pace, and the entire exercise is expected to be concluded by the end of the week.

In the last few days, both sides removed several bunkers, temporary posts and other structures in the areas while gradually thinning down their troops, they said.

The sources said field commanders of both the sides are meeting almost on a daily basis to take forward the disengagement process which was finalised following nine rounds of high-level military talks.

The visuals released by the Indian Army also showed the PLA troops marching back while some vehicles waited at the nearest road-heads to take them back to rear bases. The sources said Army Chief Gen MM Naravane is keeping a close eye on the disengagement process.

After nine months of border standoff in eastern Ladakh, the two armies have reached an 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.

The disengagement began last Wednesday.

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 southern bank of the lake as well, Singh had 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 a strong reaction from the Indian Army.

In the nine rounds of military talks, India was specifically insisting on withdrawal of the 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.

Defence minister Singh had also told Parliament that it was agreed to convene the next meeting of senior commanders of both sides within 48 hours of completion of the disengagement in the Pangong lake area so as to resolve all other remaining issues.

On Friday, the defence ministry said other outstanding "problems" including in Depsang, Hot Springs and Gogra will be taken up at the upcoming talks between military commanders of the two countries.

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