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Chinese Defence Ministry claims India and China withdrawing troops at Pangong lake

Portions of the Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh, India, had been occupied by China in 2020 (IANS)

The Chinese defence ministry claimed on Wednesday that Indian and Chinese troops at the southern and northern bank of Pangong Tso Lake at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) have begun disengaging. India has, however, issued no statement on the matter as yet.

Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of National Defence, said in a written statement on Wednesday: "The Chinese and Indian frontline troops at the southern and northern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake start synchronised and organised disengagement from February 10."

The spokesperson said the move is in accordance with the consensus reached by both sides at the ninth round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting recently.

After a 16-hour-long marathon ninth round of military dialogue, both the countries issued a joint statement wherein it was stated that they have agreed to push for an early disengagement of the frontline troops at disputed border areas across Line of Actual Control.

"The two sides agreed that this round of meeting was positive, practical and constructive, which further enhanced mutual trust and understanding. The two sides agreed to push for an early disengagement of the frontline troops," a the joint statement stated.

It also stated that both the countries have also agreed to follow the important consensus of their state leaders, maintain the good momentum of dialogue and negotiation, and hold the 10th round of the Corps Commander Level Meeting at an early date to jointly advance de-escalation.

"The two sides agreed to continue their effective efforts in ensuring the restraint of the frontline troops, stabilise and control the situation along the LAC in the Western Sector of the China-India border, and jointly maintain peace and tranquillity," said the statement.

India and China have been engaged in a ten-month-long standoff at the LAC after Chinese PLA occupied portions of Indian territory in 2020.