New Delhi, Feb 11 (efe-epa).- India on Thursday said it reached an agreement with China on disengagement from a Himalayan lake after their months-long deadly military standoff in the disputed eastern Ladakh border region.
Defense Minister Rajnath Singh told the upper house of the Indian parliament that the pact with the Chinese side “for disengagement in the Pangong lake area envisages that both sides will cease their forward deployments in a phased, coordinated and verified manner.”
Armies of the two nuclear powers had squared off last year near the Himalayan lake that straddles their border as both lay claim on its sovereignty.
Last year in June, at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with the Chinese military in a physical brawl at another location of the disputed border region.
The standoff began in April 2020 when India alleged that Chinese troops had intruded deep into its side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto boundary that separates the territories held by the two neighbors.
China dismissed the allegation, saying its troops were deployed in its own territory along the LAC.
The two sides, who fought a war in 1962, had mobilized tens of thousands of soldiers, guns, and fighter planes along 3,488km-long (nearly 2,200 miles) LAC that stretches from Ladakh to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
The Indian defense minister told the parliament that the actions by the Chinese side since last year had “seriously disturbed peace and tranquility” along the boundary region.
“Consequently, they have also had an impact on the overall relationship,” he said.
“We have made it clear (to the Chinese side) that the foremost need was to ensure disengagement in all the friction points along the LAC in the western sector so as to help restore peace and tranquility.”
He said that the two sides had also agreed to convene the next meeting of the senior military commanders within 48 hours after the complete disengagement in the Pangong Lake area “to address and resolve all other remaining issues.”
The remarks from the Indian defense minister came a day after China said the frontline troops of the two countries at the southern and northern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake had started “synchronized and organized” disengagement from Wednesday.
“The move is in accordance with the consensus reached by both sides at the 9th round of China-India corps commander level meeting,” Chinese defense ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said. EFE-EPA