New Delhi: The process of disengagement of troops in eastern Ladakh has not yet been completed though some progress has been made, India said on Thursday in a statement that countered China’s claim that frontline forces of the two countries have “completed” this exercise at most locations along their border.
Two days ago, China had also said that the situation on the ground was easing amid regular talks between officials of the nuclear-armed neighbours to de-escalate the border standoff after the June 15 clash in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh that left 20 Indian soldiers dead and an unspecified number of Chinese casualties.
“There has been some progress made towards this objective but the disengagement process has yet not been completed,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told an online media briefing when asked about the Chinese claim on Tuesday.
He also said the senior commanders of the two militaries will be meeting in the “near future” to work out steps to complete the process of disengagement.
“As we have stated earlier, the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas is the basis of our bilateral relationship,” Mr Srivastava said.
“Therefore, we expect that the Chinese side will sincerely work with us for complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas at the earliest as agreed to by the Special Representatives,” he added.
Last week, government sources said that China has not pulled back troops from all the areas that it had intruded into Ladakh near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in May.
After several rounds of military talks, the Chinese have not held up their part in the disengagement process, they said. China’s troops are still present in the Depsang Plains region, Gogra and the Fingers region along the Pangong Lake where India and China had started a mutual disengagement by creating a buffer zone between both sides.
Indian and Chinese forces have locked in a standoff on their de-facto Himalayan border since May. The two sides blame each other for the clash in Ladakh and have since moved thousands of troops there while pursuing talks that they say aim to ease the tensions.