China on Tuesday claimed that its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Indian Army had pulled back troops from “most” of the face-off scenes along the disputed boundary between the two nations in eastern Ladakh.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese government said that Beijing and New Delhi were now “actively preparing” for the fifth round of talks between the senior commanders of the PLA and the Indian Army “to resolve the outstanding issues on the ground”.
“As border troops have disengaged in most localities, the situation on the ground is de-escalating and the temperature is coming down,” Wang Wenbin, the spokesperson of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in Beijing.
The border troops of China and India have "completed" the disengagement in most locations in eastern Ladakh after "intensive communication" through military and diplomatic channels and the situation on the ground is easing, the official translator quoted Wang as saying.
Indian government sources of PTI in New Delhi said this statement is not correct.
Later, an English translation of Wang's remarks in Mandarin put up on the Chinese foreign ministry website which read as, “As border troops have disengaged in most localities, the situation on the ground is de-escalating and the temperature is coming down."
At the briefing, Wang said, “We have held four rounds of commander level talks and three meetings of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC)."
“Currently the two sides are actively preparing for the fifth round of commander-level talks to resolve outstanding issues on the ground. We hope the Indian side will work towards the same goal with China, implement the two sides' consensus and jointly uphold peace and tranquillity along the border," the spokesman added.
Asked when the next commanders level meeting will be held, Wang said the information will be released in due course.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday said that India and China agreed on "early and complete" disengagement of troops in eastern Ladakh and may hold more military talks soon so as to work out further steps to ensure "expeditiously" complete “disengagement and de-escalation" and restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas.
Lt Gen Harinder Singh, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 14 corps of the Indian Army, is likely to have another round of meeting with his counterpart Maj Gen Liu Lin of the Chinese PLA at Chushul-Moldo point on the LAC soon.
India had also asked China to “sincerely implement” the understanding on troop withdrawals reached by senior military commanders of the two sides.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a nearly two-hour-long telephonic conversation on July 5 to bring down tension between the armies of the two countries in eastern Ladakh.
They earlier had four meetings to resolve the issues, on June 6, June 22, June 30 and July 14.
New Delhi is concerned over the Indian Army’s reports that the Chinese PLA had not yet withdrawn troops from some of the face-off points, including the northern bank of the Pangong Tso lake. India is also worried as China has not yet shown signs of thinning out the large number of troops deployed over the past few weeks in the “depth areas” on its side of the LAC.
Beijing, however, claimed that the PLA and the Indian Army had completed disengagement in most of the locations. “We hope India will work towards the same goal with China, implement the two sides’ consensus and jointly uphold peace and tranquillity along the border,” said the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson.
The senior diplomats of India and China last Friday held another round of video conference within the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs (WMCC), which was instituted in 2013.
The two sides then had agreed on holding another round of talks between the senior commanders of the Indian Army and the Chinese PLA.
(With inputs from PTI)