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By Sanjeev Miglani
NEW DELHI, February 11 (Reuters) – India and China have agreed to withdraw troops from a hotly contested lakeside region in the heights of the western Himalayas, India’s defense minister said on Thursday during a breakthrough after a deadlock of several months on the litigation. border.
Rajnath Singh told parliament the deal was reached after several rounds of talks between military commanders and diplomats from nuclear-weapon neighbors.
“Our sustained talks with China led to a disengagement agreement on the northern and southern shores of Lake Pangong,” he said.
China’s defense ministry said frontline troops from both countries began withdrawing from the lake shores on Wednesday. The stalemate began in April last year when India said Chinese troops had penetrated deep into its side of the actual line of control or de facto border in the Ladakh region in western China. the Himalayas.
China has said its troops are operating in its own area and accused Indian border guards of provocative actions.
In June, 20 Indian soldiers were killed when the two sides clashed with iron bars and stones in the Galwan Valley, the first combat losses at the border in 45 years. China has also suffered an unknown number of victims.
Singh said the Indian government told Beijing that the peace and quiet had been seriously disrupted by the actions of Chinese troops and that bilateral relations had suffered.
“To ensure the disengagement of friction points along the LAC, we were of the opinion that troops on both sides, which are now in close proximity, should leave the forward deployments made in 2020 and return to the permanent and accepted bases.” , did he declare.
Once the disengagement is completed at the high-altitude Pangong Lake, military commanders will meet within 48 hours to discuss withdrawal from other areas, Singh said.
India and China fought a war in 1962 and since then have been unable to agree on their 3,500 km (2,200 mile) long border.