Not an Inch Lost, Disengagement in Ladakh Has Brought Peace on LAC: Army Chief Gen Naravane

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After the ninth round of Corps Commander-level talks, India and China have agreed for a phased disengagement from friction areas in Eastern Ladakh and now there is relative peace in the Line of Actual Control (LAC), said Army Chief General MM Naravane.

According to news agency ANI, General Naravane said disengagement started on February 10 and since then it has been going on according to plan. “From north and south bank of Pangong Tso and Kailash Range, people have gone back to their nearest permanent locations,” the Army chief was quoted as saying in an interview.

“Thereby the face to face deployment which was there and because of which there could have been chances of miscalculation has now receded. Now there is relative peace and tranquility in LAC,” General Naravane said.

“We have not lost out on any territory, we are where we were before this whole thing started… Not an inch of land has been lost,” he further said.

The border standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies erupted on May 5 last following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry. Both sides were locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation in three other locations in the region. The situation deteriorated following clashes in the Galwan Valley as the two sides significantly bolstered their deployments in most areas along the LAC. Twenty Indian Army personnel were killed in the clashes.

The Chinese side also suffered casualties but it is yet to give out the details. According to an American intelligence report, the number of casualties on the Chinese side was 35.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed withdrawal of troops and weapons from the North and South banks of Pangong Tso in line with an agreement on disengagement. At the military-level talks, the two sides focussed on completing withdrawal of troops from Pangong Tso and Depsang besides laying out a detailed roadmap for disengagement of large numbers of troops from the rear bases by the two sides in a time-bound manner.

The first round of the Lt General-level talks was held on June 6 during which both sides finalised an agreement to disengage gradually from all the standoff points beginning with Galwan Valley.

Regarding cross-border terrorism, the Army chief said terror camps and infrastructure still exist on the other side of the Line of Control (LoC). “For terrorism to come down, the camps have to get dismantled. It’s only when snow melts will we come to know how serious Pakistan is about dismantling terror infrastructure for putting people across,” he said.

“We also have some local terrorists who are increasingly feeling marginalised and in the recent past, one or two acts have taken place which are just acts of desperation on their part,” he added.