Differences betweenIndia and Chinaon the disengagement process along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) spilled into the open on Friday, with New Delhi calling on Beijing to “sincerely implement” all understandings on troop withdrawals reached by senior military commanders of the two sides.
The issue figured in a nearly three-hour meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs, which reviewed the situation in the border areas and the disengagement process in thewestern sector of the LAC.
The Indian side sent a “strong message” on the need for the Chinese side to deliver on commitments regarding the withdrawal of forces at friction points on the LAC, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity.
A statement from the external affairs ministry said the two sides agreed “it was necessary for both sides to sincerely implement the understandings reached between senior [military] commanders in their meetings till date”.
The two sides also agreed another meeting of the corps commanders “may be held soon so as to work out further steps to ensure expeditiously complete disengagement and de-escalation” along the LAC, the statement added.
The people cited above said another meeting of the corps commanders is expected to be held next week but no dates have been finalised as yet. The fourth and most recent meeting of the generals from the two sides was held on July 14, with marathon discussions continuing till early morning the next day.
The Indian side at the WMCC meeting, the fourth engagement at the diplomatic level since the border standoff emerged into the open, focused on the need for China to completely withdraw its forces from key friction points in Ladakh sector in keeping with commitments made at the meetings of the corps commanders and the July 5 phone conversation between the two Special Representatives on the border issue, the people said.
The main problem areas continue to be the presence of Chinese troops at Pangong Lake and Depsang plains, the people said. While there has been some pullback by Chinese forces at Hot Springs and Gogra, this was not in line with the understandings reached so far and more needs to be done, the people added.
The Chinese readout on the WMCC meeting, issued in Beijing in Mandarin, referred to “positive progress made by the frontline border defence forces of the two countries to disengage and ease the situation on the ground”.
It said the two sides will “maintain bilateral military and diploma