China has withdrawn nearly 10,000 troops from depth areas on its side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), over 100 kilometres from the southern banks of the Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh, even as their frontline soldiers remain locked in a standoff with the Indian Army.
Sources in the defence and security establishment said the withdrawal has taken place over the past few weeks from the traditional training areas of China, which are over 100 kilometres from the LAC.
China is likely to have taken the step because of the extreme cold conditions in eastern Ladakh, where the temperatures have dropped into sub-zero territory.
The sources stressed that the move cannot be seen as de-escalation from the Chinese side. They pointed out that the frontline troops remain in place without any decrease in numbers.
Earlier, India had also carried out a thinning-down of troops by withdrawing soldiers who were rushed in as reserves when the standoff with China began early May. Meanwhile, India continues to maintain a considerable strength of troops in the area.
The steps were taken as part of the winter logistics arrangement. The troops are expected to be sent back to Ladakh during the summer.