The Centre on Thursday said that there has been some progress in diffusing tensions between India and China along the Line of Actual Control, but the disengagement process has not yet been completed.
The statement came days after China said its troops had “disengaged in most localities” along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. The Foreign Ministry spokesperson had said that tension around Pangong Lake was yet to be resolved and was likely to be discussed during the fifth round of Corps Commander-level talks later this week.
However, India’s Ministry of External Affairs in a statement clarified that the process has not yet been completed and that the senior commanders of the two sides will be meeting in the near future to work out steps in this regard.
The statement referred to the online diplomatic talks held between the countries on July 24, during which both sides had agreed to an “early and complete” disengagement of the troops from the friction points in eastern Ladakh. The meeting was held under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on border affairs.
“They [India and China] agreed that early and complete disengagement of the troops along the Line of Actual Control and de-escalation from India-China border areas in accordance with bilateral agreement and protocols and full restoration of peace and tranquility was essential for smooth overall development of bilateral relations,” the statement said.
It added that the same agreement was also reached between the two Special Representatives – National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi – on July 5. “There has been some progress made towards this objective but the disengagement process has as yet not been completed,” the ministry said.
India said the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas is the basis of the bilateral relationship. “Therefore, we expect that the Chinese side will sincerely work with us for complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas at the earliest as agreed to by the Special Representatives,” it added.
China’s claims that it had disengaged in most areas came amid reports that said China has not yet withdrawn its troops from all areas along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. Officials said that Chinese troops were still stationed at the Depsang Plains region, Gogra and the Fingers region along the Pangong Lake, where India and China had created a neutral zone.
Indian and Chinese troops clashed in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, along the Line of Control on June 15, during which, 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed. It was the worst assault between the two nations since 1967. Since then, four round of talks have been held between the commanders of the two armies to work out details of disengagement from the stand-off areas.