India and China on Sunday said that they will continue to push for the resolution of their outstanding matters in a steady and orderly manner to ensure that the border areas remain peaceful. The two countries issued a joint statement after the tenth round of commander-level talks on Saturday. The talks took place after the completion of the disengagement process at the Pangong Tso lake in Eastern Ladakh.
“On February 20, the 10th round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting was held on the Chinese side of the Moldo/Chushul border meeting point,” the joint statement said. “The two sides positively appraised the smooth completion of disengagement of frontline troops in the Pangong Lake area noting that it was a significant step forward that provided a good basis for resolution of other remaining issues along the LAC [Line of Actual Control] in Western Sector.”
India and China said they had a “candid, in-depth discussion” about the tensions along the border. The two sides agreed to follow the important consensus of their state leaders, continue their communication and dialogue, stabilize and control the situation on the ground, push for a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues in a steady and orderly manner, so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” the countries said.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hit out at the Opposition for doubting the bravery of Indian soldiers, PTI reported. “After nine rounds of military and diplomatic dialogue, the disengagement process is complete,” he said on Sunday. “But unfortunately the Congress is doubting Indian army’s bravery...isn’t it insulting to the soldiers who do the supreme sacrifice.”
During the latest round of talks, military commanders of India and China discussed withdrawing their respective troops from other friction areas like the Gogra and Hot Springs, the Hindustan Times reported.
Tensions between the two countries flared up in June after deadly clashes between soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed.
China on Friday for the first time named four soldiers who died, and another, who was injured, during the clash. This came eight months after China refused to disclose details of casualties in the deadly brawl with India.
The standoff has persisted with both sides bolstering forces along the border. Both India and China have accused each other of crossing into rival territory and of firing shots for the first time there in 45 years.
The talks between Indian and Chinese militaries began in June following the clashes. However, a breakthrough came only earlier this month as Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed Parliament that the two countries will disengage from the Pangong Tso lake in a phased and coordinated manner.
“The Chinese side will keep its troop presence in the North Bank area to east of Finger 8. Reciprocally, the Indian troops will be based at their permanent base at Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3,” he had told the Rajya Sabha on February 11.