India on Friday asked China to build on the progress that the two countries had made in Pangong Lake in Ladakh and disengage from other friction areas in the region too.
“The disengagement at Pangong Lake was a significant step forward and has provided a basis for the resolution of other remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control in the Western sector,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said during a press briefing. “The two sides continue to remain in touch through military and diplomatic channels.”
The spokesperson cited a conversation between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, where he said that the prolongation of the conflict was not in the interest of the countries.
“We hope the Chinese side will work with us to ensure that the disengagement in the remaining areas is done at the earliest,” Bagchi said. “This would allow both sides to consider de-escalation of forces in Eastern Ladakh as that alone will lead to the restoration of peace and tranquility.”
The foreign ministry spokesperson added that there was a consensus among both the countries to quickly resolve their outstanding matters.
On March 12, India and China had held discussions on how to resolve the remaining matters along the Line of Actual Control in the western sector. The talks were held under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs.
Before the meeting, a top United States military commander said in a report that China’s People’s Liberation Army had not yet withdrawn from “several forward positions” it seized following clashes with Indian troops along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh last year.
Border tensions flared up in June after deadly clashes between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clashes. China identified the casualties on its side only in February, saying that four soldiers died.
The talks between the militaries of the two countries began soon after the clashes. However, a breakthrough came only in February this year as Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed Parliament about the disengagement agreement reached between India and China.
The disengagement process along Pangong Tso in Ladakh began on February 10, as military commanders began pulling out troops, tanks and artillery from the area in the first step towards full withdrawal. The process has been completed. On February 20, India and China held commander-level talks to discuss pulling back from other areas.