New, high resolution satellite images from July 10, now available with NDTV, show a distinct thinning out of Chinese positions in the contested Finger 4 area along the banks of Pangong Lake in Ladakh. Previous images showed construction activity in this region. However, hundreds of Chinese structures, including tents and sheds remain visible across the area, a clear indicator that while the process of disengagement of Indian and Chinese forces in this area has commenced, it is far from over. There are no signs, so far, of a full-fledged Chinese return to their positions pre-April before the tensions began in the area.
Significantly, there appears to have been a shift of Chinese fast interceptor craft that operate on the Lake to a jetty 10 kilometres to the East of Finger 4. These still appear to be well within India's perception of the Line of Actual Control located near the site of the historic Fort Khurnak which lies a further 11 kms to the East of this jetty. 11 Chinese boats, which appear to be of two distinct types, are docked at the jetty. A large map of China is inscribed on the hill-face near the jetty.
Chinese forces continue to dominate the spurs (referred to as 'Fingers') in this region with tents lined up along the course of rivulets located along the contours of the spurs.
There are 8 distinctive spurs, or 'Fingers' located along the banks of the high-altitude Pangong Lake in Eastern Ladakh. India believes that the Line of Actual Control here lies at Finger 8 while China believes it lies further to the West.
The de-facto boundary between Indian and Chinese forces presently lies at Finger 4 beyond which Chinese forces have prevented Indian soldiers from patrolling. Dozens of Indian soldiers were seriously injured in clashes here in May. India has repeatedly stated that it has right to patrol till Finger 8, a claim contested by China.
At a meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border areas on Friday, both sides reaffirmed that they ''will ensure complete disengagement of the troops along the Line of Actual Control and de-escalation from India-China border areas for full restoration of peace and tranquillity.''
Military talks at the level of Lieutenant General are, once again, scheduled to be held next week to assess the status of the mutual disengagement in the area. Indian and Chinese soldiers have pulled back approximately 2 kilometres in the Galwan region creating a buffer zone between the Armies of both sides. The Chinese withdrawal in Galwan has been confirmed by satellite imagery. Army sources say the process of the mutual withdrawal In Hot Springs and Gogra is now complete.