The 9-month long border standoff that began after the Galwan valley clash in Eastern Ladakh near the LAC is seemingly heading towards its end, albeit for the time being. China has been made to eat the humble pie as its ambitions of transgressing into the Indian territory have been thwarted.
The Defence Minister of India Rajnath Singh on Thursday in the upper house said that India and China have agreed for a complete disengagement at Pangong Tso along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh and said that the military commanders of the two sides will be holding a meeting within 48 hours of the completion of disengagement.
“China will keep its troops to the east of the Finger 8 at the north bank of Pangong Lake. India will keep its troops at its permanent base near Finger 3,” said Rajnath Singh.
Making a statement in Rajya Sabha on ‘Present Situation in Eastern Ladakh’. Watch https://t.co/FeTXeH7UPI
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) February 11, 2021
“Our sustained talks with China have led to agreement on disengagement on the north and south banks of Pangong Lake. After this agreement, India-China will remove forward deployments in a phased, coordinated manner,” Singh said while assuring the nation that India will not compromise even an inch of its land to anyone.
Where India & China have agreed to pull their troops back to in a phased manner. India to the Dhan Singh Thapa ITBP post area near Finger 3, and China to Finger 8. #LadakhStandoff pic.twitter.com/DMCKbkBm75
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) February 11, 2021
According to news reports, the disengagement will begin with both sides pulling back some tanks, howitzers and armoured vehicles that were deployed in the region since last year. This will be followed by withdrawal of rival frontline troops from the `friction points’.
The Chinese defence ministry in Beijing announced the “synchronized and organized disengagement” from the north and south banks of Pangong Tso in accordance with the “consensus reached” in the ninth round of the corps commander-level talks on January 24.
“The Chinese and Indian frontline troops at the southern and northern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake start synchronised and organised disengagement from February 10,” said Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of National Defence.
Despite Beijing claiming that India took on the PLA troops because of the support of former USA President Donald Trump, New Delhi has shown that it has the resolve to tackle PLA even when a pro-China, Democrat President-elect has been installed at the White House.
The CCP and Xi Jinping’s mouthpiece Global Times routinely peddled feature-length articles talking about New Delhi becoming a pawn of Washington and raking the border issue to help Donald Trump in his trade wars with China.
However, when Trump lost the elections due to alleged voting count inconsistencies, Beijing thought that India might finally pack its bags and revert to its old positions. But what happened was the diametric opposite of that. The brave Indian forces stood their ground and continued to guard the borders against the wussies of the PLA who time and again tried to sneak their way into the Indian territory.
India was always prepared to brave the sub-zero, frosty, and frigid temperatures of the region, unlike the inexperienced Chinese PLA troops, who had a hard time getting acclimatized to the conditions.
With Trump not around, many foreign affairs experts had anticipated New Delhi to drop its anti-China crusade and toe a much nuanced diplomatic line. But the Modi government has once again gone against the conventional and surprised everyone. New Delhi is still aggressively pushing for the Quad to become a much more formal and a military organization, despite Joe Biden changing the definition of Indo-Pacific.
Beijing has finally realized that New Delhi is playing its cards close to the chest without the help of anybody. Trump or not, the Modi government will continue with its juggernaut and it is up to Xi Jinping to course-correct his misadventures or ultimately pay the price for it.