Disengagement process intricate: Army

MEA says absolutely no change with respect to India’s position on LAC.

July 16, 2020 02:01 pm | Updated July 17, 2020 06:31 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

A convoy of Indian Army trucks move towards the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, in the backdrop of the current stand-off with Chinese troops, in Leh on July 4, 2020.

A convoy of Indian Army trucks move towards the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, in the backdrop of the current stand-off with Chinese troops, in Leh on July 4, 2020.

The disengagement process on the border to resolve the tensions is “intricate and requires constant verification” and both India and China remained committed to the objective of complete disengagement, the Army said on Thursday.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said both sides have agreed “at specific points to redeploy towards their regular posts on their respective sides of the Line of Actual Control [LAC]”, which it said were mutually agreed reciprocal actions to be taken by both sides and there was absolutely “no change” with respect to India’s position on the LAC.

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“The Senior Commanders reviewed the progress of the implementation of the first phase of disengagement and discussed further steps to ensure complete disengagement,” the Army said in a statement on the Tuesday talks at the Corps Commander level. 

The engagement was consistent with the consensus reached between the Special Representatives of India and China on July 5 to discuss complete disengagement, it stated.

15-hour talks

Tuesday’s fourth round of commander-level talks at Chushul went on for 15 hours, during which the two sides worked out details of the next phase of disengagement as well as a complete withdrawal of forces along the LAC .

“The disengagement process currently under way in the western sector is specifically aimed at addressing face-off situations and close-up deployments of troops along the LAC. It is based on an understanding between senior military commanders,” Anurag Srivastava, MEA official spokesperson, said at the weekly press briefing.

‘Ongoing process’ 

Mr. Srivastava called the disengagement an “ongoing process”. This mutual redeployment should not be misrepresented. “We are fully committed to observing and respecting the LAC. Any unilateral attempts to change the status quo along the LAC are not acceptable,” he noted.

The high-powered China Study Group, headed by the National Security Adviser, on Wednesday deliberated on the previous day talks.

India and China have been engaged in discussions through established military and diplomatic channels to address the prevailing situation along the LAC since the stand-off began in early May.

An Army source described the Tuesday talks as “positive”. There had been full disengagement from Patrolling Points (PP) 14 and 15, partial disengagement at Hot Springs and Pangong Tso, the source said, adding, “Balance disengagement is expected in the coming days.”

While both sides moved back certain distance at PP14 and 15 last week as part of the mutual disengagement, at Hot Springs 50 soldiers from each side have been retained and balance moved to permanent positions.

Also read | A phantom called the Line of Actual Control

India has consistently pushed for the restoration of status quo ante  of April and withdrawal of massive troops by China along the LAC. 

More rounds of talks would be held to resolve the issue, another source said. Resolution of Pangong Tso was likely to take sometime, the source added.

To avoid Galwan like clash, which resulted in 20 deaths on the Indian side and an unknown number of casualties on the Chinese side, both sides decided to cease patrolling so that troops don’t clash as tempers are still high, Army sources had stated earlier.

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