The Indian External Affairs Ministry on Thursday rejected China’s claim on disengagement along the border, saying “there has been some progress made towards this objective but the disengagement process has not yet been completed”.
The People’s Liberation Army, which is reportedly kilometers inside Indian territory, has yet not disengaged from the Depsang Valley or Pangong Tso in the eastern Ladakh region, according to the ministry.
China Refuses to Back Down on Pangong, Depsang
The Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong, speaking at the Institute of Chinese Studies in Delhi, said that China had no expanded territorial claim, as the northern bank of Pangong Lake, China's customary boundary line, is in accordance with the LAC.
Weidong raised concern that “if one side unilaterally delimits the LAC as per its own understanding during negotiations, that could create new disputes, would be a departure from the original purpose of clarification of the LAC”.
Issue at Pangong and Depsang
The different parts of Pangong Lake in Ladakh have been marked as Finger 1 to Finger 8. India claims the Line of Actual Control passes near Finger 8. China claims its side of the boundary stretches to Finger 4. Both Indian Army and PLA troops conduct patrols between Finger 4 and Finger 8 on a regular basis, in an area also known as no man’s land.
According to Indian Army sources, Chinese troops have only moved back from Finger 4 at Pangong Tso.
The Chinese have reportedly refused to move back from Depsang, where they moved their troops and equipment up to a Y-Junction.
False Assurances of Disengagement?
Last week, in the 17th round of the working mechanism for consultation and co-ordination on India-China Border Affairs, both sides said they had agreed on a disengagement mechanism.
On 5 July, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met and agreed to “early and complete disengagement of troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and de-escalation from India-China border areas in accordance with bilateral agreement and protocols”.
Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Shrivastva has said New Delhi is expecting Beijing to “sincerely work 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”.
Continued Military Build-up
However, earlier this week, satellite images showed a massive military build-up by the Chinese Army and the deployment of 50,000 troops by China in the Aksai Chin region. Mirroring the Chinese build-up, India has also deployed its T-90 missile-firing tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and a full troop brigade (4,000 men) to Daulat Beg Oldi.