India and China have begun disengagement of troops on the two banks of strategically-located Pangong Lake along the de-facto border in eastern Ladakh which has seen a tense military standoff between the two sides for nearly nine months.
The implementation of the disengagement agreement started yesterday (Wednesday) in North and South Bank of Pangong lake, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told the Rajya Sabha, upper House of parliament, in a statement today.
"Our sustained talks with China have led to agreement on disengagement in the north and south banks of Pangong Lake," Rajnath said in the statement, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
"After this agreement, India and China will remove forward deployments in a phased, coordinated and verified manner," the defence minister said.
Indian troops will be based at their permanent base at Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3 while the Chinese side will keep its soldiers' presence in North Bank area to the east of Finger 8, Rajnath said, giving details of the disengagement plan.
Rajnath assured the House that "We have not lost anything."
"Both sides agree that complete disengagement under bilateral pacts and protocol should be done at the earliest," Rajnath said.
He, however, made it clear that "there are still some outstanding issues regarding deployment and patrolling on the Line of Actual Control" and said "it is expected that China will work with us to resolve remaining issues. We will focus on outstanding issues in further discussions with the Chinese side."
He said the Indian armed forces dealt with the situation in eastern Ladakh, where the armies of the two countries have been locked in a tense situation since May last year.
India always conveyed to China that border issues can be resolved through talks, Rajnath said.
He said India had never accepted China's "unjustified" claims and it had always said bilateral relations could be maintained only with efforts from both sides.
"Pakistan has illegally given India's land to China, and we do not recognise such an arrangement. China also claims a large area of India's land, and we have never agreed to such unwarranted claims," the Defence Minister said.
"In Ladakh too, China moved unilaterally, and India has and will continue to ensure that our sovereignty is maintained. After China moved a large number of troops to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), against our agreements, India too has made large-scale arrangements and moved in increased troops to safeguard our interests," Rajnath said.