India-China Border Peace: The process of de-escalation agreed upon by both India and China is a very much work in progress, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday, reaffirming the ongoing process of disengagement at the Line of Actual Control after weeks of border tension. Also Read - SAARC Must Deal With Cross-Border Terrorism, Obstruction of Trade And Connectivity: Jaishankar
“It has just commenced. It is very much a work in progress. At this point, I really would not like to say more,” he said during an interactive video session at the India Global Week. Also Read - China's Attempts to Unilaterally Alter Status Quo a Violation of Past Agreements: Rajnath Singh Tells Parliament
Jaishankar’s comments came a day after India and China held another round of diplomatic talks during which both sides resolved to push ahead with “complete disengagement” of troops in eastern Ladakh in a timely manner for “full restoration” of peace and tranquillity. Also Read - India, China Ladakh Stand-off: Complete Disengagement by Both Sides on Line of Actual Control | 5 Things That Have Been Decided
At the meeting, it was decided that senior commanders of the two armies will meet “soon” to discuss further steps to “ensure complete disengagement and de-escalation”.
People familiar with the development said the fourth round of Lt general-level talks will be held early next week with an aim to finalise modalities for withdrawal of troops from rear bases of the two militaries besides exploring ways to restore peace and tranquillity in the region.
The formal process of disengagement of troops 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.
Jaishankar held a telephonic conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on June 17 during which both sides agreed that the overall situation would be handled in a responsible manner.
The Indian and Chinese armies were locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control(LAC) for the last eight weeks.
The border tension escalated manifold after violent clashes in Galwan Valley on June 15 in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed. The Chinese side also suffered casualties but it is yet to give out the details. According to an American intelligence report, the number of casualties on the Chinese side was 35.
In the last six days, the Chinese military has withdrawn troops from all major friction points in line with a disengagement understanding with Indian Army.
Both sides have held several rounds of diplomatic and military talks in the last few weeks to ease tension in the region.
Tensions had escalated in eastern Ladakh around two months back after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on May 5 and 6. The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 9.
(With Agency Inputs)