Disengagement process on in Pangong Tso
16th Feb, 2021
After a nine-month standoff, militaries of Indian and China reached an agreement on disengagement in the north and south banks of Pangong lake that mandates both sides to cease forward deployment of troops in a “phased, coordinated and verifiable” manner.
- The disengagement agreement
The two sides had reached an agreement to withdraw from PangongTso, a glacial lake at 14,000 ft (4,270 metres), after several rounds of talks between military commanders and diplomats from the nuclear-armed neighbours.
- Chinese forces will continue to have a troop presence in the north bank of Pangong Lake to the east of Finger 8. Meanwhile, Indian troops will also re-position its forces at its permanent base at the Dhan Singh Thapa post near Finger 3.
- Similar disengagement is set to take place along the south bank of Pangong Lake. It is worth noting though that this region houses the Kailash range, a crucial area that, if controlled, provides a sizeable tactical advantage.
- The disengagement will also entail that any structures built by both forces since April last year in the north and south banks of the Pangong Lake area will be dismantled, with landforms restored.
- The two parties have also agreed to conduct the next meeting of Senior Commanders within 48 hours from when complete disengagement in Pangong Lake takes place, with a view towards resolving outstanding issues.
- PangongTso is an endorheic lake (landlocked) that is partly in India’s Ladakh region and partly in Tibet.
- The name reflects the mixed heritage of the lake: Pangong in Ladakhi means extensive concavity, the word Tsois Tibetan for lake.
- Situated at an elevation of about 4,270 m, it is a nearly 135-km long, narrow lake — 6 km at its widest point — and shaped liked a boomerang. Its total area is over 600 sq km.
- The Karakoram Mountain range, which crosses Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and India, with heights of over 6,000 metres including K2, the world’s second highest peak, ends at the north bank of PangongTso.
- Its southern bank too has high broken mountains sloping towards Spangur Lake in the south.