The Centre on Wednesday said it will continue talks with China and complete full disengagement from all friction points along the Line of Actual Control to restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas, reported PTI. Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan also informed the Lok Sabha that the disengagement process in the Pangong Tso area, which began on February 10, has been completed.
Muraleedharan said the Centre will also try to resolve the remaining matters. “Government will continue discussions with the Chinese side to resolve the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh and achieve the objective of disengagement from all friction points and restoration of peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas at an early date,” he added.
In February, Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar agreed over a telephone call with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that the two countries should “quickly resolve the remaining issues” in the eastern Ladakh region, following disengagement of troops in Pangong Lake area. The disengagement process along Pangong Tso began on February 10, as military commanders began pulling out troops, tanks and artillery from the area in the first step towards full withdrawal. On February 20, India and China held commander-level talks to discuss pulling back from other areas.
When asked if China has admitted to the loss of lives on its side in the Galwan Valley clash, Muraleedharan said the Central Military Commission of China on February 19 posthumously awarded Peoples Liberation Army soldiers. “As per the announcement, these titles were awarded for the role of these soldiers in the faceoff at Galwan Valley in June 2020,” he added.
Muraleedharan’s comments came a day after a report prepared by a top United States military commander said the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has not yet withdrawn from “several forward positions” it seized following clashes with Indian troops along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh last year. The submissions, made by US Indo-Pacific Command chief Admiral Phil Davidson to the Senate Armed Services Committee, contradict India’s position that the Chinese have pulled back troops from parts of the disputed Himalayan border, which it had occupied for much of the last nine months.
Almost nine months after the standoff began, both countries announced an agreement in February for soldiers to disengage on either side of the Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh, where the first clashes took place in May. Thousands of soldiers from the two sides have been deployed on the Himalayan frontier since April on the Line of Actual Control.