China pulls back 10,000 troops from Ladakh theatre...

Dhaka, Saturday   23 January 2021

China pulls back 10,000 troops from Ladakh theatre

 International Desk

 Published: 11:45 AM, 12 January 2021  

China pulls back 10,000 troops from Ladakh theatre

China pulls back 10,000 troops from Ladakh theatre

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has pulled back at least 10,000 soldiers from depth areas in the Ladakh theatre to rear positions in the midst of the ongoing border standoff between India and China, officials familiar with the development said on Monday.

But despite withdrawing around 10,000 troops, the PLA’s frontline deployments remain unchanged, said one of the officials cited above. The withdrawal of troops appears to be linked to extreme weather conditions in the sector, said a second official.

The Chinese troop withdrawal, experts said, has to be seen against the backdrop of the overall Indian and Chinese military deployments in the theatre --- both armies have deployed a total of 100,000 soldiers and weaponry in their forward and depth areas.

“In winters, large-scale or even limited military operations are ruled out. That’s possibly the reason why the PLA has withdrawn troops from depth areas,” said former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General (retd) DS Hooda.

The reduction of 10,000 troops has happened over the last week to 10 days, said a third official. The Indian army is closely monitoring the developments in the Ladakh theatre as a re-induction of troops by the PLA in the sector cannot be ruled out, said a fourth official.

The Ladakh standoff is in its ninth month, with soldiers holding forward positions at friction points in extreme weather conditions. The two armies have held eight rounds of military talks so far, with dates yet to be announced for the delayed ninth round of dialogue between corps commander-level officers.