India and China have agreed for early and complete disengagement of the troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and de-escalation from India-China border areas in accordance with bilateral agreement and protocols and stressed that full restoration of peace and tranquility was essential for smooth overall development of bilateral relations, according to an official statement by external affairs ministry.
The reaffirmation of the need for complete disengagement, de-escalation and full restoration of peace was made in the 17th meeting of the working mechanism for consultation and coordination on India-China border affairs held on Friday.
India was represented by a team led by joint secretary (East Asia) Naveen Srivastava of the external affairs ministry and the Chinese team was led by Hong Liang, director general of the boundary and oceanic affairs department of China's foreign ministry.
The talks between the two sides came amid reports of a deadlock from the ground despite intense negotiations at the military and diplomatic levels. Officials familiar with the issue had said that the disengagement process at some points of the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) including Pangong Tso and Depsang had virtually halted. Defence minister Rajnath Singh, too, had said that it was not possible to "guarantee" the outcome from talks with China.
ON the eve of the talks, external affairs ministry had said that it expected Chinese side will "sincerely" work with India for complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas at the earliest as agreed to by the Special Representatives.
The Friday statement from the ministry says that both sides agreed to this.
"The two sides noted that this was in accordance with the agreement reached between the two Special Representatives (SRs) during their telephonic conversation on 5 July 2020. They agreed in this regard that it was necessary for both sides to sincerely implement the understandings reached between Senior Commanders in their meetings till date," the statement said.
A statement from the Chinese foreign ministry has described the talks held on Friday as "candid and in-depth" and it claimed that both sides acknowledged positive progress made in disengagement of troops at the frontline.
"The two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on the recent Sino-Indian border situation and fully affirmed the positive progress made by the front-line border defence forces of the two countries to disengage from contact and ease the situation on the ground," the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement released Friday evening.
The ministry statement says that another round of meeting of the senior commanders could be held soon to complete the process of disengagement and de-escalation. The military commanders have already held four rounds of detailed discussions.