The United States on Monday said that it was closely following the reports of troops disengagement between India and China and continuing to monitor the situation, PTI reported. After months of discussion, India and China on February 19 completed the first phase of the disengagement process along the Line of Actual Control at the banks of the Pangong Tso.

“We are closely following reports of troop disengagement,” said US State Department spokesperson Ned Price. “We welcome the ongoing efforts to de-escalate the situation. We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation closely as both sides work towards a peaceful resolution.”

Following the disengagement at Pangong Tso, India and China held the tenth rounds of commander-level talks focusing on taking the disengagement process forward in eastern Ladakh and bringing down the tension in the region. On February 21, both sides issued a joint statement saying 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 talks between the Indian and Chinese military had begun in June last year after clashes between soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. A breakthrough was reached earlier this month. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had informed Parliament that the two countries will remove deployments along 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,” he had said. “Reciprocally, the Indian troops will be based at their permanent base at Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3.”

India-China tensions

Tensions between the two countries flared up in June 2020 after deadly clashes between soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed.

China on February 19 for the first time named four soldiers who died, and another who was injured during the clash with Indian troops in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley in June. This came eight months after the country 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.