India-China border dispute Armies are still standing face to face on LAC

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The armies of India and China have been standing face to face in many places in eastern Ladakh since early May last year and so far they have not completely retreated

Ground Report | New Delhi: India has said that the process of disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China has not been completed yet. This means that the Chinese army has still not retreated in the areas of conflict on the LAC.

On Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi made these remarks when asked about the deployment of Chinese troops on the LAC and the construction of new structures. “The disengagement process is yet to be completed,” spokesman Bagchi said.

The disengagement means that the armies of the two countries, which had been standing in front of each other for the past almost a year, would withdraw. The armies of both the countries have been standing in Ladakh on the LAC since last year, after which several rounds of talks were held to reduce tension between the two countries.

After this, in February this year, both the countries had announced that the armies of both the countries would disengage in a phased manner from February 10. It is clear from India’s statement on Thursday that this process has not been completed even after almost four months.

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However, Arindam Bagchi said that both the countries have agreed that till the completion of this process, stability on the ground will be maintained and any new incident will be avoided. “Therefore, it is our expectation that both sides will not do anything that is not in accordance with this agreement,” he said.

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The spokesman said that after the completion of the disengagement process from the remaining areas, the path of de-escalation in eastern Ladakh would be cleared. “By doing this, the border areas will be restored to a peaceful form and there will be overall progress in the relations between the two countries,” he said.

Both disengagement and de-escalation simply mean the withdrawal of forces and the move towards normalcy. But the level of these two steps is different. Disengagement is a local process, that is, soldiers who were standing face to face on a front will retreat. But de-escalation is a comprehensive process that is more rigorous and larger. It is a sign that the situation is really improving.

From the remarks made by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday, it seems that there is still a lot to be done for de-escalation when the process of disengagement is not yet complete. A five-point agreement was reached between the two countries in September last year to resolve the situation of tension between India and China in eastern Ladakh.

On September 10, 2020, in Moscow, Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had agreed on this after a discussion among themselves. The foreign ministers of the two countries then met separately during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting.

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Under what was agreed in this, the things that were agreed between the armies of the two countries included early completion of disengagement, avoidance of tension escalating action, following all the agreements and protocols on border management and on the Line of Actual Control. Subjects such as restoring peace were included.

The armies of India and China have been standing face to face in many places in eastern Ladakh since early May last year and so far they have not completely retreated. However, after several rounds of talks between military officials and diplomats of both countries, the troops of both countries have completely withdrawn from the northern and southern banks of Pangong Lake in February.

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