India and China have concluded the tenth round of military talks, which began yesterday morning after 10 AM and lasted for about 16 hours. The talks come as the two neighbouring countries completed the disengagement process on both the banks of the Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh on Friday.
In the fresh round of senior commander level talks, disengagement in Depsang, Hot Springs and Gogra remained on the agenda. The discussions were held till 2 AM at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC (Line of Actual Control) - the de-facto India-China border - near Chushul on the South Bank of Pangong.
"On February 20, the 10th round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting was held on the Chinese side of the Moldo/Chushul border meeting point. The two sides positively appraised the smooth completion of disengagement of frontline troops in the Pangong Lake area noting that it was a significant step forward that provided a good basis for resolution of other remaining issues along the LAC in Western Sector," the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
"The two sides agreed to follow the important consensus of their state leaders, continue their communication and dialogue, stabilize and control the situation on the ground, push for a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues in a steady and orderly manner, so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas," it added.
The two countries have been holding diplomatic and military talks for the last nine months after tensions began rising along the high-altitude border in April. The situation escalated when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the line of duty in a physical clash on June 15 at Galwan Valley in Ladakh.
The disengagement of troops of the Indian Army and China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) from the LAC was reached after sustained negotiations at the military and diplomatic level, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) last week. "This agreement was reached after several rounds of sustained negotiations at the military and diplomatic level," Anurag Srivastava, MEA spokesperson told reporters, adding that the next steps post disengagement has been "clearly spelt out" by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during his speech in parliament.
Earlier this month, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had told the parliament that both sides had agreed to pull back troops in "a phased, coordinated and verified manner" around Pangong Tso, after which military commanders would discuss ending the standoff in other parts of the Ladakh frontier.
Satellite imagery of some areas on the northern bank of Pangong Tso supplied by Maxar Technologies showed multiple Chinese military camps seen in late January now removed.
Videos and images released by the army earlier this week also showed Chinese troops dismantling bunkers and tents, and tanks, soldier and vehicles moving out as part of the disengagement process.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI)