China Pulls Back 10,000 Troops from Ladakh Theatre: Reports
India and China have been locked in an eight-month-long bitter standoff in eastern Ladakh.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has pulled back at least 10,000 troops from the inside areas of the Ladakh theatre in the midst of the ongoing border tensions between India and China, officials who are aware of the development told Hindustan Times on 11 January.
While they have withdrawn, China’s deployments on the frontline continue to be the same, ANI and Hindustan Times reported. The withdrawal appears to have more to do with weather conditions in the area, a second official told HT.
“In winters, large-scale or even limited military operations are ruled out. That’s possibly the reason why the PLA has withdrawn troops from depth areas,” the former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General (retd) DS Hooda told the newspaper.
This development happened over the last week or ten days, the report said. A fourth official said that the Indian army is keeping an eye on the developments in the area, as an eventual re-induction of troops can’t be ruled out. ANI reported, quoting sources, that it is difficult to say if the troops will be brought back once the temperatures reduce in February-March.
The standoff between the two countries is in the ninth month. There have been eight rounds of talks, and dates for the ninth are yet to be announced. The Chief of Defence, General Bipin Rawat, reached Leh on 10 january for a security review, he will also visit forward areas in Kashmir. Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria also visited forward areas in eastern Ladakh on the same day.
The defence ministry said the PLA had escalated the situation in the sensitive Ladakh theatre by using unorthodox weapons against Indian soldiers and amassing a large number of troops during the ongoing border standoff along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The ministry said the PLA attempted to alter the status quo in the sector by force but the Indian Army was well-entrenched to counter any misadventure by the adversary.
In a midnight move on 29 August 2020, the Indian Army had occupied key heights to prevent the PLA from grabbing Indian territory on the southern side of the Pangong Tso. The positions the Indian government occupies allows it to completely dominate the sector and keep an eye on Chinese military activity, thereby giving India a greater bargaining power in their talks with China.
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