China, India Troops Pull Back From Parts of Disputed Border
(Bloomberg) -- China and India have begun pulling back their troops from Pangong Lake along their disputed Himalayan border, officials on both sides said, but other areas of conflict between the two neighbors have yet to be addressed.
The ‘orderly’ disengagement of soldiers from the north and south banks of the glacial lake that sits at about 14,000 feet in the Ladakh region began at the same time on Wednesday, China’s defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in a statement.
India will also begin moving back its military hardware, including tanks that had been deployed after clashes between the two sides erupted last summer, according to two security officials with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be named, citing rules on speaking to the media.
The roll-back of equipment will follow official verification of troop reduction by both sides, the Indian officials said Thursday, and comes after a consensus reached at the ninth commander-level talk between the two countries.
Still, the disengagement from the banks of Pangong lake is just the first step. Other contentious areas of dispute along the unmarked border that Chinese troops occupied -- where soldiers from both sides are in rifle range of each other -- still remain, the Indian officials said.
What happens in those areas will depend on the how much progress is made at the lake, they added.
India and China moved thousands of soldiers, tanks, artillery to their 3,488 kilometer (2,167 mile) border after clashes in the Galwan valley in Ladakh last June that left at least 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops dead.
India’s defense minister Rajnath Singh told parliament Thursday that the pulling back of troops along the glacial lake will be followed by another round of talks between top military commanders to discuss moving back soldiers from other disputed areas around the frontier.
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