After nine months of intense border stand-off, India and China are physically deescalating the situation in the contested Ladakh region. On Wednesday, China's Defence Ministry announced a phased simultaneous withdrawal in Pongong Tso where the stand-off begun last April.
“As per the consensus reached at 9th military commanders’ level talks between China and India, the frontline units of the Chinese and Indian armed forces in Pangong and North Coast began disengagement simultaneously,” Wu Xueqian, People’s Liberation Army Spokesperson, said.
Sources in New Delhi confirmed the development with more clarity and said tanks will be moved out from the southern banks of Lake Pangong Tso. “As of now soldiers remain. The tanks are being pulled back completely,” sources added.
Last month, several open source satellite imagery experts posted pictures showing Chinese and Indian tanks facing each other down from only a few hundred metres away on the disputed Himalayan border.
The current stand-off started in April 2020 when China and India accused each other of violating border agreements. A deadly clash ensued on 15-16 June 2020 – at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley in the Ladakh region according to Indian officials. Beijing has yet to publish information about its own casualties.