New Delhi: India has firmly told China to vacate the Finger 5 area in Pangong Lake, Ladakh, even as disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has reached a critical point. While complete disengagement has happened in Galwan valley and Hot Springs, the process is yet to be completed in Gogra area, Pangong Lake for which more talks are expected to happen.
“As per media reports, both sides are building up. When build-up happens, to expect Chinese to pull back from Pangong Tso runs contrary,” said Former 14 Corps Commander Lieutenant General PJS Pannu.
While both sides are in engaged in the fifth round of military talks, India has said the disengagement process is yet to be completed. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “Some progress made towards” disengagement but the “process has as yet not been completed”.
He further explained, “As we have stated earlier, the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas is the basis of our bilateral relationship….we expect that the Chinese side will sincerely work with us for complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”
The MEA statement comes even as Chinese side on July 29 claimed that “front-line border forces of the two countries have disengaged in most locations, and the current situation has continuously improved with eased tensions”.
So far since the June 15 Galwan Valley incident, three rounds of military talks on June 22, June 30 and July 14, another three rounds of diplomatic talks–Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on June 24, July 10th and July 24 and one round of SR level talks between NSA Doval Ajit Doval and Chinese FM Wang Yi has happened.
Meanwhile, the Chinese envoy Sun Weidong when asked on China making new claims at LAC said, “Nothern line in Pangong Lake and Chinese customary boundary is in accordance with LAC and there is no case of China expanding its territorial claim.”
He declined to answer Chinese casualties during the Galwan incident when asked and said, “understand the goodwill..we don’t want to add more tensions and escalate the situation” at LAC.