In a significant development amid Indo-China border tension, both sides have arrived at a mutual consensus to disengage from all the friction points in Ladakh on Tuesday. However, the disengagement process might take months before normalcy returns in Ladakh. This is because the disengagement process between India and China will be done in a phased manner that will involve de-induction of troops, artillery and armour.
According to India Today TV, de-escalation at Pangong and Galwan clash could be the most challenging. Pangong Lake is the original flashpoint that triggered long-standing skirmishes between the two armies since the faceoff on May 5. Galwan Valley is the region where violent clashes took place on June 15, leading to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers.
Last month, in the northern bank of the Pangong lake, Chinese soldiers enhanced their fortifications, observation posts and troop deployment between Finger 4 and Finger 8. Finger 4 has been under India's control and Finger 8 has been considered a grey zone. It must be noted that Pangong lake is divided into eight fingers. In military parlance the mountainous spurs jutting out into the lake are referred to as fingers. This means China will have to retreat from Finger 4 and also remove their fortifications, bunkers and observations posts between Finger 4 and Finger 8.
Indian and Chinese militaries have engaged in a bitter standoff in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Gogra Hot Spring and several other areas in eastern Ladakh for the last six weeks.
The first round of the Lt Gen talks was held on June 6 during which both sides finalised an agreement to disengage gradually from all standoff points beginning with Galwan Valley.
The government had given the armed forces "full freedom" to give a "befitting" response to any Chinese misadventure along the LAC. The Army had already sent thousands of additional troops to forward locations along the border in the last one week. The IAF has also moved a sizable number of its frontline Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar, Mirage 2000 aircraft and Apache attack helicopters to several key air bases including Leh and Srinagar following the clashes.
According to India Today, ground commanders will hold a series of meetings in the next couple of weeks to finalise the detailed framework of disengagement.
Since the Galwan Valley clash, India-China held at least three-rounds of Major-General-level talks to explore ways to bring down tension.