Progress made but disengagement at LAC not complete: India

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New Delhi, July 30

India on Thursday said further meetings at the military level were required because the process of disengagement of troops from both sides on the line of actual control (LAC) has not been completed.

“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,” the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at a virtual briefing.

Speaking minutes after the Chinese Ambassador to India, Sun Weidong, again accused the Indian troops of breaking an understanding between military commanders of not to transgress the LAC in Galwan Valley.

Srivastava said there had been some progress made towards disengagement but the process had not been completed. He expected senior commanders of the two sides to meet in the near future to work out steps in this regard.

“As we have stated earlier, the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas is the basis of our bilateral relationship,” added the MEA spokesperson, indicating that India is seeking complete restoration of pre-COVID status quo in all areas in Eastern Ladakh,” Shrivastava added.

Meanwhile, Sun said that since April, the Indian troops had been making roads, bridges and infrastructure along Galwan Valley, leading to representations from China by military and diplomatic channels. As a result, India agreed to withdraw its troops and dismantle the infrastructure after a meeting between Corp Commanders on June 6.

According to the envoy, the Indian side committed not to go across the water mouth of Galwan Valley to patrol or raise new infrastructure. On the evening of June 15, the Indian troops broke the consensus and went across the LAC and violently attacked the Chinese soldiers leading to a physical clash.

“This is a situation that no one wants to see,” he said.

Implicitly acknowledging that China had suffered casualties, the envoy said any announcement of the number of deaths suffered by the PLA troops would not be “helpful to ease the situation”.

Unlike the MEA spokesperson who said the process of disengagement was not complete, the Chinese envoy avoided the specifics.

“What we are now doing is making joint efforts to deescalate the situation and ease the tension around border areas,” Sun said while seeking more communication and contacts between the two sides.

The envoy disclosed that China had stopped exchanging maps of two of the three sectors of the LAC for over 15 years because it found that India was making exaggerated claims.

“The purpose of clarification is to maintain peace and tranquillity. When we look back, we will find that if one side has unilaterally put its own perception of LAC during the negotiations that will create new disputes. That is why this process cannot move on,” he said.