India says needs to verify troop disengagement with China

India says needs to verify troop disengagement with China

FILE PHOTO: Indian Army convoy moves along a highway leading to Ladakh
FILE PHOTO: An Indian Army convoy moves along a highway leading to Ladakh, at Gagangeer in Kashmir's Ganderbal district on Jun 18, 2020. (REUTERS/Danish Ismail/File Photo)

NEW DELHI: India and China are making progress on ending a months-long military face-off at their disputed Himalayan border but it is a complicated process and needs verification on the ground, the Indian army said on Thursday (Jul16).

India says Chinese troops have breached the Line of Actual Control, the poorly defined border in the western Himalayas, and set up defence structures. China says it is operating on its side of the de facto border.

Last month, a clash erupted in the high altitude Galwan Valley in the Ladakh region.

Twenty Indian soldiers were killed and China took an unspecified number of casualties.

Top level diplomatic and military talks followed in a bid to defuse the crisis.

READ: Modi visits Himalayan border where troops clashed with China

China has since thinned out from the Galwan Valley and on Tuesday top military commanders on both sides discussed the next steps in the pullback, the Indian army said.

"The Senior Commanders reviewed the progress on implementation of the first phase of disengagement and discussed further steps to ensure complete disengagement," said army spokesman Colonel Aman Anand.

"The two sides remain committed to the objective of complete disengagement. This process is intricate and requires constant verification," he said.

China's foreign ministry said on Wednesday there had been progress in defusing the border crisis and urged the Indian side to maintain peace.

China has previously blamed frontline Indian troops for provoking the Jun 15 clash, the most serious in 53 years.

India and China have not been able to agree on their 3,488-km -long border that runs from the snow deserts of Ladakh in the western sector to thick forest and mountains in the east, despite several rounds of talks over the years.

The two sides are trying to resolve the standoff in other parts of Ladakh, including Pangong Tso lake and Hot Springs, officials say. Once that happens, the two armies can start to thin out forces they had inducted into the region following the rise in tensions.

Brahma Chellaney, a specialist on India-China ties, said the threat of more clashes or even an armed conflict has yet to lift since the rival forces are still mobilised in the area.

Source: Reuters/kv