PLA pulls back from Galwan clash site

#GS3 #INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

 India and China have begun the process of disengagement at contentious locations along the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC), a government after Doval, Wang Yi phone call. 

 

What is the Pangong Tso issue?

Pangong Tso is one of the most contentious areas of the India-China stand­off with the PLA moving about 8 km inside up to Finger 4. India’s claim is till Finger 8 as per the alignment of the LAC.

 

Pangong Tso: 

  • The world’s highest saltwater lake (at a height of more than 14,000 ft in the Ladakh Himalayas) 
  • Pangong Tso is a long narrow, deep, endorheic (landlocked) lake.
  • Besides having huge strategic importance, the lake has been a source of salt. Hence, it is important to the people of Ladakh because it produces rock salt that is consumed locally and even exported. 
  • The brackish water lake freezes over in winter. 

 

Why the Conflict?

  • The de facto border between India and China in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and now in the union territory of Ladakh is the Line of Actual Control. 
  • This was actually the informal cease-fire line after the 1962 war, and in 1993, was accepted as the LAC in a bilateral agreement. 
  • But the claim lines for both countries are still different, leading to numerous flare-ups from time to time.
  • The LAC doesn’t just run through land, but also through the Pangong Tso
  • India claims that its territory goes until the easternmost finger, that is number 8, whereas Chinese soldiers are now believed to have made incursions till Finger 4.
  • The barren mountains on the lake’s northern bank, called the Chang Chenmo, jut forward in major spurs, which the Army calls “fingers”.
  • India claims that the LAC is coterminous with Finger 8, but it physically controls area only up to Finger 4.
  • Chinese border posts are at Finger 8, while it believes that the LAC passes through Finger 2.
  • Around six years ago, the Chinese had attempted a permanent construction at Finger 4 which was demolished after Indians strongly objected to it.
  • Chinese use light vehicles on the road to patrol up to Finger 2, which has a turning point for their vehicles.
  • If they are confronted and stopped by an Indian patrol in between, asking them to return, it leads to confusion, as the vehicles can’t turn back.
  • The Chinese have now stopped the Indian soldiers moving beyond Finger 2. This is an eyeball-to-eyeball situation which is still developing.

Way Forward:

  • Disengagement is not enough in order to declare an end to tensions at the LAC.
  • An agreement on returning to “status quo ante” (the situation before the stand­off began) is required. 

 

Source: The Hindu

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