Home Asia Featured News PLA rotating troops on Pangong Tso, signals disengagement is far off

PLA rotating troops on north Pangong Tso, signals disengagement is far off

The assessment of the Indian side is that comprehensive disengagement will be a long-drawn process despite the inherent risk of a flare-up

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, Oct. 12 — The People’s Liberation (PLA) has started rotating troops on the banks of Pangong Tso with the intent that it has no immediate plans of either disengagement of de-escalation in Ladakh. The seventh round of - -diplomatic talks will take place in Chushul today with XIV Corps Commander meeting the South district commander to discuss comprehensive disengagement.

According to commanders, the PLA has moved an additional brigade north of Pangong Tso for rotating troops from finger four mountainous spur to keep up the morale of the deployed force. “Given that both sides are deployed at nearly 18,000 feet on finger 4 and the is deteriorating, the PLA is rotating 200 troops at a time so that front-line troops are fresh and motivated. This clearly means that PLA has no plans to disengagement at least this winter,” said a senior official.

The assessment of the Indian side is that comprehensive disengagement will be a long-drawn process despite the inherent risk of a flare-up as the PLA will occupy positions south of Pangong Tso the moment they are vacated by the Indian . While PLA has come up to its perception of the LAC on the north banks, the Indian troops have come up to its perception of the LAC on the south banks by pre-empting the Red all along the Rezang La Rechin la ridgeline.

Even though winter is expected to set in by end of this month and take a turn for the worse, Indian Army is prepared to stay on the heights all along the 1597 km LAC in Ladakh. The Indian army commanders take lessons from the fact that Sumdorong Chu stand-off in Arunachal Pradesh that started in 1986 was fully resolved through comprehensive disengagement by November 1995 – after nine years of continuous deployment. While Sumdorong Chu stand-off was resolved, the Indian Army is sitting on the Saltoro Ridge since Operation Meghdoot was launched in April, 1984 – 36 years and counting.

While the PLA aggression in Galwan valley and north of Pangong Tso was pre-planned with military objectives in mind, the Chinese were not prepared for either the June 15 flare-up or the August 29-30 pre-emption. It is quite evident that PLA commanders thought that the Indian Army would accept the aggression as fait accompli and move on. However, with both sides deployed in full at the LAC in Ladakh, the chances of an accident are high and thus distance is being kept between the front-line troops.

Even though the PLA Western Theatre Command is deployed all along the Ladakh LAC and in depth, the Chinese problems have been complicated by the stand-off with the over . The PLA is currently stretched with South and Northern Theatre Commands also deployed to pressurize with Navy active in . What happens next in Taiwan largely depends on the posture after the November Presidential results but either way American policy towards China has taken a turn for the worse. One must remember that the incumbent president has three more months in before he completes his term.

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