Shanghai, China, Feb 22 (efe-epa).- China and India confirmed the complete withdrawal of their respective troops from the Pangong Lake area in the western Himalayas, where the worst clashes in 45 years between the two nuclear powers took place in June 2020.
In a joint statement issued on Sunday night, the defense ministries of both countries said that at a commander-level meeting, the “two sides positively appraised the smooth completion of disengagement of frontline troops in the Pangong Lake area.”
The de-escalation of tensions in that area provides a “good basis” for resolving other border disputes along the western portion of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which separates the territories controlled by China and India, the statement added.
Both sides agreed to “continue their communication and dialog, stabilize and control the situation on the ground, push for a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues in a steady and orderly manner, so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas.”
On Feb. 11, India announced that it had reached an agreement with China on disengagement from the area, where soldiers from both sides had clashed eight months earlier.
India had reported the death of 20 of its soldiers and that another 76 had been injured, however, until recently China had only reported an unspecified number of casualties that was “not high.”
Last week, the Chinese government acknowledged that at least four of its soldiers died in the June clashes, announcing a posthumous title of “hero” for one soldier and first-class merit citations for three more “to commemorate their sacrifice for defending national sovereignty and territory.”
Both countries reacted to the confrontation by reinforcing their military presence along the LAC while they tried to solve the crisis through diplomatic channels, followed by months of negotiations that facilitated the agreement earlier this month to end the military deployment in a “phased, coordinated and verified manner.” EFE-EPA