The Indian Army said in a statement on Thursday that both India and China “remain committed to disengagement”, which it said is an “intricate process” that requires “constant verification”, the Hindustan Times reported. The statement came two days after commanders of the two armies met at Chushul village in Leh, Ladakh, along the Line of Actual Control to discuss the way forward.
“The senior commanders reviewed the progress on implementation of the first phase of disengagement and discussed further steps to ensure complete disengagement,” Army Spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said on Thursday. “The two sides remain committed to the objective of complete disengagement. This process is intricate and requires constant verification.”
Anand added that the two sides were taking forward the disengagement process through frequent military and diplomatic meetings.
Indian and Chinese troops clashed in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, along the Line of Control on June 15. The clash led to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers, and injuries to 76. An unidentified number of Chinese soldiers also died. Following this, disengagement talks between the two sides were hastened. The July 14 meeting was the fourth meeting between commanders of the two sides. Previous meetings had been held on June 6 (before the clash), June 22 and June 30.
On Wednesday, the China Study Group appointed by the Indian government reviewed the latest developments in Eastern Ladakh, with emphasis on the next stage of disengagement. The China Study Group evaluated the proposals and counter-proposals discussed at the corps commander-level talks. It will now set an agenda for the next round of talks, to be held at the Finger Area near Pangong Lake.
Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar had said on July 11 that 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”.
The two armies face each other in the Finger Area and Depsang Plains, among other locations along the long India-China border. Reports on Wednesday said that Beijing is reluctant to completely move its troops out of the Finger Area.
India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is slated to visit Ladakh on Friday, accompanied by Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane. Singh will then visit forward areas in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a surprise visit to Ladakh on July 3, where he indirectly warned China, saying that the “era of expansionism” was over.