Ladakh. | Representative image
India on Thursday once again called for completion of the disengagement process at the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh to pave the way for both the Indian and Chinese troops to consider de-escalation and ensure full restoration of peace and tranquillity in border areas.
At a media briefing, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, referring to the last rounds of military and diplomatic talks, said both sides agreed on the need to resolve the outstanding issues in an expeditious manner in accordance with the existing agreements and protocols.
"We have repeatedly stressed that completion of disengagement in other areas would pave the way for the two sides to consider de-escalation of forces and ensure full restoration of peace and tranquillity and enable progress in bilateral relations," he said.
Bagchi was replying to a question on the status of the talks between the two sides on the border standoff.
The 11th round of Corps Commander-level talks was held on April 9 while the last edition of diplomatic negotiations under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs took place on March 12.
"During these meetings, both sides agreed on the need to resolve the outstanding issues in an expeditious manner in accordance with the existing agreements and protocols," Bagchi said.
India and China are locked in a military standoff at multiple friction points in eastern Ladakh since early May last year.
However, the two sides completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the North and South banks of Pangong lake in February following a series of military and diplomatic talks. The two sides are now engaged in talks to extend the disengagement process to the remaining friction points.
There was no visible forward movement in disengagement of troops at the remaining friction points as the Chinese side did not show flexibility in their approach towards this end at the 11th round of military talks.
Last month, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane said there can be no de-escalation without complete disengagement at all friction points in eastern Ladakh and that the Indian Army is prepared for all contingencies in the region.
Gen Naravane also said that India is dealing with China in a "firm" and "non-escalatory" manner to ensure the sanctity of its claims in eastern Ladakh, and that it was even open to initiating confidence-building measures. India has been insisting on complete disengagement at the remaining friction points to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ladakh.