Troops from China's People's Liberation Army Ground Force and the Indian Army are conducting simultaneous disengagements along a tense Himalayan frontline bordering Pangong Tso (Pangong Lake) spanning eastern Ladakh in India and western Tibet.
The area was the site of a lethal night-time brawl between troops from both sides on June 15, 2020 that led to the deaths of 20 Indian Army troopers and at least 40 from the People's Liberation Army.
Both sides on Wednesday confirmed the start of troop and equipment withdrawals along the rugged and hilly Line of Actual Control (LAC) separating their military forces. The disengagements are taking place along both the north and south banks of Pangong Tso.
The Indian Army occupies territory on both north and south banks west of the LAC while the Chinese troops control land on both north and south banks to the east.
The Chinese troop pullback was announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and confirmed by Ministry of National Defense spokesman Senior Colonel Wu Qian of the People's Liberation Army on the microblogging website Sina Weibo.
"The Chinese and Indian front line troops at the southern and northern banks of the Pangong Tso Lake start synchronized and organized disengagement from Feb. 10," said Wu.
"This move is in accordance with the consensus reached by both sides at the ninth round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting."
Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin confirmed that frontline troops began to conduct simultaneous and planned disengagement in the Pangong Lake area. Indian Army sources also confirmed the pullback to media and said these movements are only the first in a long process of disengagement and de-escalation.
The heavily-militarized south bank has seen the Indian Army deploy tanks and armored vehicles in positions sometimes only a few hundred meters away from the Chinese.