India, China Ladakh Stand-off: After days of uncertainty, India and China on Friday have resolved to push ahead with “complete disengagement” of troops in eastern Ladakh in a timely manner for “full restoration” of peace and tranquillity. As Chinese troops continued to withdraw from Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh, the two countries held another round of diplomatic talks, and decided that senior commanders of the two armies will meet “soon” to discuss further steps to “ensure complete disengagement and de-escalation in a timely manner.” Also Read - India-China Talks: India Insists on Immediate Restoration of Situation as it Was Before May 5
1. Peace will be maintained: The two sides agreed that maintenance of “enduring peace” in the border areas was essential for the overall development of bilateral ties. Also Read - Climate Change May Melt 85% Glaciers in J&K & Ladakh, Cause Temp Rise of 6.9 Degree Celsius by 2100: Study
2. Respect to bilateral agreements and protocols: The MEA said the two sides reaffirmed to ensure complete disengagement of the troops along the LAC for “full restoration” of peace and tranquillity in the border areas in accordance with bilateral agreements and protocols. Also Read - India-China Border Tension Stiffens, Army Chief Naravane Heads to Assam Amid Ladakh Talks
3. Overall development of bilateral ties: The MEA said in a statement that both the sides have agreed that for the overall development of bilateral relations it was essential to maintain enduring peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
4. Disengagement in the western sector: In today’s meeting, both the sides have reviewed the situation in the India-China border areas including the progress made in ongoing disengagement process along the LAC in the western sector.
5. Dialogue will be continued: In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said both the sides affirmed the “positive progress” made by their troops in easing the situation along the LAC in eastern Ladakh and agreed to continue the dialogue to further de-escalate the situation. “They have agreed to continue to maintain dialogue and consultations on the military and diplomatic channels, promote further de-escalation of situation on the ground, and strengthen confidence-building measures in the border areas, properly handle border issues in a timely manner,” the ministry said in a statement.
In line with the first phase of the disengagement process from friction points, Chinese military on Thursday completed moving back its troops from the face-off sites in Gogra and Hot Springs, days after withdrawing all its personnel from the Galwan Valley. The withdrawal of troops from Finger 4 area in Pangong Tso is also gaining traction, paving the way for holding of another round of Corps commander-level talks in the next few days to further de-escalate tension in the region.
The formal disengagement process began on Monday morning after a nearly two-hour telephonic conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday.
In Friday’s talks, both sides recalled the agreement reached between the foreign ministers of the two countries in their talks on June 17 as well as the outcome of negotiations between Doval and Wang, the Special Representatives (SRs) on the boundary issue.
Amid the talks, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong, in a video statement, said the two countries should build mutual trust and should not allow differences to interfere with bilateral relations, adding both sides should work together to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas. He also said China and India should be partners, rather than rivals.
In its statement, the MEA said both sides agreed to hold another meeting of the WMCC in the near future.
Defence Minister Singh carried out a review of the situation in eastern Ladakh at a meeting with Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh and Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria besides several other senior military officials.
The Indian and Chinese armies were locked in the bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last eight weeks. The tension escalated manifold after the Galwan Valley clashes in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed. Both sides have held several rounds of diplomatic and military talks in the last few weeks to ease tension in the region. However, there was no visible sign of any end to the standoff till Sunday evening.
(With Agency Inputs)