India urges China to hurry disengagement of troops in Ladakh

NEW DELHI (AP) — India urged China on Friday to expedite the complete disengagement of troops from border areas in eastern Ladakh, where thousands of soldiers from the two countries have remained in a tense standoff since May.

External Affairs Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said some progress has been made following several meetings between the two sides.

“While we would like the ongoing process to be competed at the earliest, it is important to bear in mind that achieving this requires agreed action by both sides,” he told reporters.

There was no immediate reaction from the Chinese government.

He said India expected the Chinese side to “sincerely work with it toward the objective of complete disengagement and deescalation and full restoration of peace and tranquility in border areas.”

Twenty Indian soldiers died in a June 15 clash when personnel from the two sides attacked each other with rocks, clubs and fists in the Galwan Valley, in the deadliest violence between the countries in 45 years. China has not said whether it suffered any casualties in the clash.

The Galwan Valley is part of a remote stretch of the 3,380-kilometer (2,100-mile) Line of Actual Control established after a 1962 border war which also spilled into Ladakh.

An Indian defense ministry report earlier this month said the standoff is likely to be prolonged because the situation in eastern Ladakh “continues to be sensitive and requiring close monitoring and prompt action based on the evolving situation.”

Indian officials said the standoff that culminated in the deadly clash began in early May when large contingents of Chinese soldiers entered deep inside Indian-controlled territory at three places in Ladakh, erecting tents.

India and China have been trying to settle their border dispute since the early 1990s, without success.

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