New Delhi: India on Friday said it expects China to work with it through existing bilateral consultation mechanisms to ensure early completion of the disengagement process in the remaining areas in eastern Ladakh to allow both sides to consider de-escalation of forces.
The statement comes days after the armies of the two countries concluded withdrawal of troops and weapons from the north and south banks of the Pangong lake.
At a weekly media briefing here, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had a detailed discussion with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi last week and agreed to set up a hotline, details of which would be worked out through diplomatic channels.
"It is our expectation that the Chinese side will work with us both through the WMCC (Working Mechanism for Consultation and Cooperation on India-China border issues) and the senior commanders' meetings to ensure that disengagement in the remaining areas is completed at the earliest," Srivastava said.
"This would allow both sides to consider de-escalation of forces in eastern Ladakh as that alone will lead to the restoration of peace and tranquillity and provide conditions for the progress in our bilateral relationship," he added.
During his telephonic discussion, Jaishankar had emphasised that both sides must quickly resolve the remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
"The External Affairs Minister had emphasized (in his conversation with Wang) that with the completion of disengagement in the Pangong Lake area, the two sides should now move quickly to resolve the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh," Srivastava said.
The senior army commanders in their last meeting held on February 2 had also noted that the disengagement in the Pangong Lake area was a significant step forward and it provided a good basis for the resolution of other remaining issues along the LAC in the Western Sector, he said.
The two sides had a detailed exchange of views at the last meeting of senior commanders on the remaining issues, Srivastava noted.
As the External Affairs Minister had pointed out to the Chinese Foreign Minister, both sides have always agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas was an essential basis for the development of bilateral relations, he said.
"A prolongation of the existing situation was not in the interest of either side. The two ministers have agreed to remain in touch. They have also agreed to establish a hotline, details of which will be worked out subsequently through diplomatic channels," he said.
At the 10th round of the senior commanders' meeting last month, India is learnt to have insisted on a faster disengagement process in areas such as Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang to defuse tension in the region.
The border standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies erupted on May 5 last year following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.
Subsequently, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a fierce hand-to-hand combat on June 15 in Galwan Valley, an incident that marked the most serious military conflicts between the two sides in over four decades. Eight months after the confrontation, China admitted that its four soldiers were killed in the fight.