New Delhi: India on Thursday said the process of disengagement of Indian and Chinese troops at friction points on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) remains “unfinished” and it expects the Chinese side to maintain stability and avoid any new incidents.
Speedy completion of the disengagement process alone will lead to complete restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas and facilitate progress in bilateral relations, external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told a weekly news briefing.
Bagchi was responding to a question on reports of China increasing military deployment and creating fresh infrastructure at friction points on the LAC.
“I would like to reiterate what I have shared earlier – that the process of disengagement remains unfinished,” he said.
“The two sides have agreed that in the interim, they would maintain stability on the ground and avoid any new incidents. It is our expectation, therefore, that neither side should do anything that is not in keeping with these understandings,” he added.
There have been numerous reports in recent weeks of China moving in new military equipment and formations into Tibet and Xinjiang and bolstering air defence and missile positions and airports on its side of the LAC amid the border standoff with India, which began more than a year ago.
China’s People Liberation Army (PLA) recently integrated air force and army elements to create a combined air defence system for the western theatre command, which is responsible for operations along the LAC.
The disengagement of frontline troops along the LAC stalled following a drawdown of forces and armoured units by both sides on the north and south banks of Pangong Lake in February. Diplomatic and military talks have not led to a breakthrough at other friction points such as Depsang Plains, Gogra and Hot Springs.
Bagchi said the early completion of the disengagement process in the remaining areas could lead to de-escalation of forces in eastern Ladakh, “which would hopefully lead to full restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas and enable overall progress in the bilateral relationship”.
While China has said that the two countries should set aside the border row and take forward ties in areas such as trade and investment, external affairs minister S Jaishankar has made it clear that restoration of peace and tranquillity on the LAC alone can be the basis for restoring normal ties.