Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar on Saturday said the disengagement of Indian and Chinese troops along the disputed Line of Actual Control has just started and it is “very much a work in progress”, PTI reported. Jaishankar, a member of the Cabinet Committee on Security, is the first to comment about the de-escalation process that began earlier this week.

The foreign minister was speaking at the India Global Week virtual conference. “What just happened is that we have agreed on the need to disengage because the troops on both sides are deployed very close to each other,” he said. “So there is a disengagement and de-escalation process which has been agreed upon. It has just commenced. It is very much a work in progress. At this point, I really would not like to say more.”

Jaishankar’s comments came a day after India and China held another round of diplomatic talks under the framework of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs. The foreign ministry had said both sides resolved to push ahead with “complete disengagement” of troops in eastern Ladakh in a timely manner for “full restoration” of peace and tranquility.

The disengagement between both India and China began after a telephonic conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on July 5 that lasted nearly two hours. On Monday, both the countries had pulled back troops from the site of June 15 clashes at Galwan Valley in Ladakh. The incident claimed the lives of at least 20 Indian personnel and injured 76 in the worst violence on the border since 1975. The Chinese have given no figures on their casualties and wounded.

Reports said that Chinese frontline troops have fully moved out of the Patrolling Point 15 of the Hot Springs area in eastern Ladakh as part of the disengagement process to reduce tensions. The Indian and Chinese armies were locked in a standoff in multiple locations along the LAC for the last eight weeks.

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