Friday, February 3, 2023

India and China complete pull-back of forces from Pangong Lake

India and China have completed a troops withdrawal from the controversial part of the Himalayan border, according to a joint statement from India’s Defense Ministry.

The troops completed their withdrawal from Pangong Tso Lake on Saturday, the statement said.

In clashes at the badly marked border, 24 soldiers killed in June last year.

Both sides said they would work to defuse tensions on other parts of the border or Line of Actual Control (LAC).

India and China announced their decision withdrawing troops from the disputed area on February 11. Also commanders met on Saturday to assess the operation.

The both sides appraise the smooth completion of the disengagement of frontline troops in the lake area and note that this is significant progress which provides a good basis for resolving other remaining issues along the LAC in the western sector,” said in a statement.

The commanders held nine rounds of talks to get to this stage.

The statement acknowledged that other parts of the border remain tense and negotiations are expecting to resume.

“Both sides agreed to follow the important decision of their heads of state, to continue communication and dialogue. Also to stabilize and control the situation on the ground and to demand mutually acceptable solutions to other problems in a stable and orderly manner, so together we can maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas.”

Before withdrawing completely around Pangong Tso Lake, troops stationed on both sides on the north and south coast of the area claimed by both sides.

Months of tensions have raised concerns that the continued deployment of thousands of troops in the Chinese-led region of Ladakh and Aksai Chin could escalate the conflict.

Storyline behind India and China dispute

India and China had embroiled in a border dispute for decades and started a war in 1962. The border is 3,440 km long and borders are not clear.

Source: Satellite Image 2020 Maxar Technologies

The rivers, lakes and layers of snow along the border mean lines can shift, bringing armies together and creating confrontation. However, the two countries have long agreed not to use weapons or explosives at the border.

In January, troops on both sides injured in clashes in the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim.

20 Indian soldiers were killed in clashes in June in the Galwan Valley. China admitted two days ago that four of its soldiers also killed in the clashes. The weapons used reportedly included stones and rivets.

China says the incident involved a “fist fight”.

Related: UNITED NATIONS chief hopes Indo-China border conflict could be dialled down through dialogue

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