New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Friday said the disengagement agreement between India and China on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake happened after several rounds of “sustained negotiations” even as more talks are slated to be held at the military and diplomatic levels as the stand-off continues at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh.
“The disengagement agreement on north and south banks of Pangong Tso was reached after several rounds of sustained negotiations at military and diplomatic levels,” said Anurag Srivastava, MEA spokesperson, at a media briefing.
Srivastava added that the tenth round of senior commanders’ meeting will be held 48 hours after “complete disengagement” in the Pangong lake area to address the remaining issues.
He, however, said no date has been fixed so far for the talks held under the framework of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC), which takes place at the diplomatic level.
This comes after the Chinese Defence Ministry announced Wednesday that the “Chinese and Indian frontline troops at the southern and northern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake start synchronised and organised disengagement from 10 February… This move is in accordance with the consensus reached by both sides at the 9th round of China-India corps commander-level meeting”.
This was followed by a statement by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Parliament Thursday where he said that India’s objective since September was “to effect disengagement and maintain status quo along the LAC so as to restore peace and tranquility”.
He also highlighted that this particular aspect has been raised by India in every meeting that New Delhi had with Beijing.
Singh said, apart from him, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval have also raised the same issue whenever they met their Chinese counterparts.
However, Singh also categorically mentioned that “there are still some outstanding issues with regard to deployment and patrolling at some other points along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. These will be the focus of further discussions with the Chinese side”.
MV Anastasia crew to reach India on 14 February
Meanwhile, Srivastava also confirmed Friday that Indian sailors who were stranded in Chinese waters aboard Swiss-Italian cargo vessel MV Anastasia will return home by 14 February.
“The ministry (MEA) and our mission (in China) has been continuously following up on this issue with the Chinese authorities,” he added.