In a major breakthrough in talks to resolve the standoff between Indian and Chinese armed forces at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, China’s Defence Ministry and Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on 10 and 11 February respectively announced that, Indian and Chinese troops on the southern and northern shores of Pangong Tso lake have begun a phased, coordinated, and verified disengagement.
The consensus was reached during the ninth round of previously held military commander-level talks. According to the agreement, both forces will move back to their traditional bases on the north bank of Pangong Tso. Significantly, both sides will stop patrolling to the extent of their respective claims in the area.
The development comes after months of standoffs between India and China at the LAC, during which a violent faceoff last year between the two sides at the Galwan Valley led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers and an undisclosed number of Chinese troops.
The last standoff between the two Asian giants was in late August 2020, when India occupied certain peaks on the south bank, which were previously unoccupied by either side.
Does this disengagement mean an end to the hostile environment in relations between the two countries? Or is it just another addition to a long list of landmark standoffs that are yet to be negotiated?