UPDATED: Feb 17, 2021, 10:39 AM(IST)
Even as the disengagement at Pangong lake is underway, 150 Chinese tanks and nearly 5,000 Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers have withdrawn. The first phase of the disengagement, which was announced last week, is underway at the lake in the Eastern Ladakh.
The scale of disengagement could only be seen when the first visuals of the disengagement were released by the Indian Army on Tuesday. The visuals showed infantry disengagement, Chinese PLA tents being dismantled, and carrying load-backs while moving to the rear areas.
As part of the disengagement, the Chinese will move east of finger 8 of the north bank of Pangong lake, while India will be present at its base at finger 3. No patrolling will take place between finger 4 and finger 8, and all structures will be removed.
Complete disengagement at the Pangong is expected to be over by end of this week. Once it is completed, disengagement at 3 areas–Gogra, Hot springs, and Depsang plans will be taken up during the 10th round of India China senior commanders’ meet within 48 hours.
The disengagement comes after a multi-month-long standoff that started in April/May of last year with China trying to unilaterally change the situation on the ground. The Galwan incident saw the death of 20 Indian soldiers, leading to a dramatic escalation and impacting Delhi-Beijing ties. China also suffered casualties but never came up with a number.