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The first phase of disengagement after an intense 9-month border stand-off was completed in the contested Pangong Tso on 19 February. The military commanders of the Indian army and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have held their 10th round of meetings to disengage at other friction points along the Line of Actual Control.
Emphasising the need to implement the consensus reached during their bilateral meeting in Moscow last year, the foreign ministers of India and China have agreed to take the long view of the bilateral ties in order to resolve the differences along the border at earliest.
“Once disengagement is completed at all friction points, then the two sides could also look at a broader de-escalation of troops in the area and work towards a restoration of peace and tranquillity,” Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar conveyed to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Thursday evening during a 75-minute telephone conversation.
The ministers noted the completion of disengagement in the Pangong Lake area and emphasised that both sides should now quickly resolve the remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh.
The Indian foreign minister said that boundary questions may take time to resolve but the disturbance of peace and tranquillity, including violence, will inevitably have a damaging impact on their relationship.
Wang Yi said that the two sides must cherish the current hard-won situation, jointly consolidate existing achievements, maintain the momentum of consultations and further ease the situation.
In this photograph provided by the Indian Army, tanks pull back from the banks of Pangong Tso lake region, in Ladakh along the India-China border on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.
The two Asian giants, which have $78 billion in trade ties, agreed to further improve the border control mechanism to avoid the negative cycle in bilateral relations.
The two ministers have also announced the setting up of a communication hotline to exchange views in a timely manner.
The 10th round of the Senior Commanders meeting between the two countries was held on 20 February and they exchanged in-depth views on the remaining issues like in Hot Springs, and Gogra along the loosely demarcated Line of Actual Control.
The Indian Army and People’s Liberation Army stationed over 50,000 additional troops each at several friction points along the Line of Actual Control last year after a major stand-off broke out over border infrastructure.
The stand-off started in April 2020 over border infrastructure near Pangong Tso and escalated into a violent clash on 15-16 June, in which 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers were killed.