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China Dismantles Jetty, Helipad from Friction Area as Part of Pangong Tso Disengagement

The Indian Army has been on a very high level of alert and is ready to deal with any eventuality in the area.

The Indian Army has been on a very high level of alert and is ready to deal with any eventuality in the area.

Sources said that the first phase of disengagement will be complete in 15-20 days. The strategic heights India has occupied in the south bank will be the last to be vacated in this phase.

As part of the troop disengagement it reached with India, China has dismantled its jetty as well as a helipad at Finger 5 on the northern banks of the Pangong Tso. It is currently in process of taking down tents and observation posts in the area.

The dismantling of all structures created after April 2020 — when Chinese aggression in Ladakh triggered a stand-off at the border — was one of the conditions of the disengagement process, which was initiated last week in the southern and northern banks of the Pangong Tso.

The move comes days after the two countries agreed on a disengagement plan in Eastern Ladakh where they were caught in a deadlock for over eight months.

The agreement inked by the two countries, under which the disengagement kicked off on February 10, specifies that China will begin to move its troops to Finger 8 and India will move back towards Finger 3. India will retain its troops at Dhan Singh Thapa administration camp.

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On February 11, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament, “Happy to inform parliament that we have agreed on a disengagement plan with China for North and South Pangong lake.”

Sources in the government on Thursday told CNN-News18 that the first phase of disengagement will be complete in 15-20 days. The strategic heights India has occupied in the south bank will be the last to be vacated in this phase, they added.

"There is an agreement. A mutual verification will happen at every step. The Kailash range will see disengagement once we are satisfied with the way things progress in other parts of Pangong Tso," a senior officer told CNN-News18.

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The disengagement of tanks and armoured vehicles in south bank was completed by Thursday evening; there were more than 100 tanks on both sides.

The 10th Corps Commander meeting will be held 48 hours after the disengagement in Pangong Tso is complete. This is when other friction points like Depsang and Gogra Hotsprings and Demchok will be discussed, sources said.

"This is a positive step. The Chinese have agreed to go back to Finger 8 in the North Bank. From here on, we expect the process to play out as planned. The Chinese rapidly led out their tanks from the south bank yesterday. But let's see how things play out," said the top source.

first published:February 16, 2021, 09:56 IST
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