China is understood to have relocated up to 10,000 troops from its training facilities located around 80-100 km from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh but there was no reduction in its deployment in frontline areas in the region, people familiar with the developments said.
They said the withdrawal of troops from training facilities located in the depth areas may have taken place due to the harsh winter, adding it does not have any impact on their operational deployment in any of the areas along the LAC.
The Indian and Chinese militaries are locked in an eight-month-long bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh. The face-off began on May 5 last year following violent clashes between the two armies in the Pangong lake area. The two countries have held several rounds of diplomatic and military talks in the last few months to resolve the standoff. However, no concrete breakthrough has been achieved so far.
Currently, nearly 50,000 troops from each side are deployed in a high state of combat readiness in various locations in the mountainous region braving severe cold-wave conditions. It is not unusual for the Chinese military to withdraw troops from training facilities during harsh winter months as it becomes difficult to continue with the drills because of the cold-wave conditions, the people familiar with the developments said.
They said India also takes similar steps and relocates soldiers from training facilities in the high-altitude region. On Monday, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria visited Ladakh to review the deployment of India’s ground forces and air assets in the region.
Chief of Air Staff Bhadauria visited the strategically located Daulat Beg Oldie, Thoise and Nyoma advanced landing strips in Ladakh and took stock of the Indian Air Force’s readiness to deal with any eventualities in the region, officials said. The eighth and last round of military talks between Indian and Chinese armies took place on November 6 during which they broadly discussed the disengagement of troops from specific friction points.
India has all along been maintaining that the onus is on China to carry forward the process of disengagement and de-escalation at the friction points in the mountainous region.