With the withdrawal of tanks completed from the forward areas on the south bank of Pangong Tso (lake), India and China have started pulling back troops in large numbers from both the north and south banks, while also restoring the land that was dug up during the heavy build-up of defences during the stand-off last year.
Videos released by the Army on Tuesday show People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops dismantling tents and bunkers and moving equipment in vehicles. Infantry troops could be seen moving out on foot as well as long convoys of vehicles with stores and troops as part of the disengagement agreement.
“The de-induction of troops from the front line is going on at a good pace. India troops too are withdrawing from the heights of the Kailash range as per the agreement,” a government official said.
On the south bank, tanks and troops of both sides had been deployed dangerously close to each other and they have now been pulled back some distance.
Stating that it doesn’t mean they all go back to their original barracks, another official said they have moved back from the front line now. The overall pullback of troops and armaments from across the LAC to farther behind would be discussed during the de-escalation talks once the disengagement from all friction areas was over, the official stated.
As reported by The Hindu, PLA troops have started clearing out from the ridgelines of Finger 4, which has been a major area of contention. On the north bank, Chinese troops will withdraw to east of Finger 8, while Indian troops will move to Dhan Singh Thapa post near Finger 3.
As part of the mutual and reciprocal steps, it was agreed that any structures that had been built by both sides since April 2020 in both the north and south banks will be removed and the landforms restored.
The disengagement began last Wednesday and is expected to be completed by end of the week, following which the Corps Commanders will meet within 48 hours to discuss disengagement at other frictions areas.