No indicators of pullback at LAC

Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 25

Even as India and China attempted to resolve the 20-week military standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh earlier this week, little has changed on the ground.

So far the Indian armed forces are “waiting and watching carefully” each move across the LAC. Winter has kicked in at the Ladakh heights, and the intent of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is being assessed following the September 22 joint statement. Both sides had agreed not to add any more troops along the frontline and refrain from unilaterally changing the ground situation.

If China does not pull back, the troops and war-waging equipment could very well be the new normal along the LAC. New Delhi is clear that it’s not pulling back its troops till the PLA agrees to do the same. “Our troops are better acclimatised than those of the PLA to survive the winter at an altitude of more than 14,000 ft and they are being provided the best survival gear,” a senior functionary said.

India has laid out three parameters for judging the LAC situation: one, disengagement of troops by both sides and not being within rifle-shot range of each other; two, pulling back troops, equipment to the April position; and three, restoration of patrolling points along the LAC.

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