By Sumit Kumar Singh
New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) Indian Army teams armed with drones and cameras are monitoring evacuation and dismantlement of military infrastructure by Chinese troops at Pangong Lake in Eastern Ladakh.
Further, the disengagement process at both northern and southern banks of the Pangong Lake is expected to be complete by February 20.
The Indian Army team along with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) team will physically verify and re-verify disengagement at Pangong Lake. “It will be a joint inspection team, both from Indian Army and Chinese PLA,” said a senior government officer.
The officer further stated that Indian Army teams will use drones and high-resolution cameras to check and record dismantlement of military infrastructure, especially created along Pangong Lake by Chinese troops.
China has created a military garrison at Finger 7 where 13 jetties were stationed, long-range guns were positioned, bunkers were constructed and permanent structures built to accommodate thousands of People’s Liberation Army troops.
“We will verify physically whether each and everything is dismantled and removed from the position. We will go up to Finger 8 to check if disengagement is happening as per the agreed terms,” the officer explained.
The agreement states that Chinese troops will move back to Finger 8 and Indian troops will pull back to the Dhan Singh Thapa post between Finger 2 and 3 of the north bank of Pangong Lake. Further, there would be a temporary moratorium on military activities, including patrolling to the traditional areas.
The mountain spur jutting into the lake is referred to as Finger in military parlance. The north bank of the lake is divided into 8 Fingers. India has claimed its territory till Finger 8 and China disputes its claims till Finger 4.
There have been regular face-offs between the two armies between Finger 4 and Finger 8, a distance of eight kilometres, on the northern bank of the lake.
Further, Indian and Chinese troops are also falling back from eyeball to eyeball confrontation position in the South bank of the lake.
In the southern bank of the lake, tanks that were separated less than 100 metres have been pulled back by forces of both countries.
India and China are engaged in a ten-month-long standoff at the Line of Actual Control. The confrontations began on the north bank of Pangong Lake, both in the waters and the bank as Chinese incursions increased in early May last year.
(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Sumit Kumar Singh