Pangong Tso 

#GS2 #Defence&Security 

As the second round of talks at the Corps Commander-level were held recently to resolve differences on the disputed India-China boundary, there were reports of a Chinese troop build-up at Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh. 

Peace talks 

  • The talks are aimed at reducing tensions, continuing the disengagement agreed earlier and restoring the status quo ante prior to May 5 along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). On June 6, both sides mutually identified five locations of conflict — Patrolling Point (PP) 14, 15, 17A, North bank of Pangong Tso and Chushul. 
  • Though tensions escalated at Galwan recently, the Pangong Tso area remains the most contentious issue. According to satellite images, China, which has moved up to Finger 4 since the beginning of the stand-off in May, has now undertaken a major build-up between Finger 4 and Finger 8 and also on the ridge lines overlooking Finger 4. 
  • India holds the mountain spurs till Finger 4, while its claim is till Finger 8. Defence sources had stated that Pangong Tso would take time to resolve and would be taken up at the Corps Commander level. 

About Pangong Tso  

  • In the Ladakhi language, Pangong means extensive concavity, and Tso is lake in Tibetan. 
  • Pangong Tso is a long narrow, deep, endorheic (landlocked) lake situated at a height of more than 14,000 ft in the Ladakh Himalayas. 
  • The western end of Pangong Tso lies 54 km to the southeast of Leh. 
  • The 135 km-long lake sprawls over 604 sq km in the shape of a boomerang, and is 6 km wide at its broadest point. 
  • It extends from India to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, China. Approximately 60% of the length of the lake lies within the Tibetan Autonomous Region. 
  • The brackish water lake freezes over in winter (despite being saline in nature), and becomes ideal for ice skating and polo. 
  • It is not a part of the Indus river basin. 
  • The legendary 19th century Dogra general Zorawar Singh is said to have trained his soldiers and horses on the frozen Pangong lake before invading Tibet. 
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