Satellite images confirm Chinese military withdrawal at flashpoints

New Delhi (Reuters):
China has dismantled dozens of structures and moved vehicles to empty out entire camps along a disputed Himalayan border, where Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a face-off since last summer, satellite images released on Wednesday show.
Satellite imagery of some areas on the northern bank of Pangong Tso by Maxar Technologies show that multiple Chinese military camps, which could be seen there in late January, have been removed. ‘Similar action is happening from our side also,’ an Indian official in New Delhi, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.
India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh told parliament that both sides had agreed to pull back troops in ‘a phased, coordinated and verified manner’ around Pangong Tso, after which military commanders would discuss ending the standoff in other parts of the Ladakh frontier.
Tensions began rising along the high-altitude border in April, when India accused Chinese troops of intruding into its side of the Line of Actual Control, the de facto border. China denied the allegation, saying it was operating in its own area.
But the confrontation spiralled in June when 20 Indian soldiers and an undisclosed number of Chinese troops were killed during hand-to-hand clashes in Ladakh’s Galwan region – the first such casualties along the 3,500 km (2,200 mile) long border in decades.
Despite several subsequent rounds of diplomatic and military talks, India and China had been unable to settle on an agreement until February, making the ongoing first phase of the withdrawal critical.

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