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Closely following reports of India, China troop disengagement: US

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Washington, Feb 23: The US has said it is closely following reports of troop disengagement between India and China and continues to monitor the situation.

The remarks by the State Department on Monday came as the armies of India and China began disengagement of troops locked in over eight-month-long standoff in eastern Ladakh.

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Both countries have reached a mutual agreement for disengagement of troops from the most contentious area of North and South Pangong Lake.

"We are closely following reports of troop disengagement. We welcome the ongoing efforts to de-escalate the situation," State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news conference.

"We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation closely as both sides work towards a peaceful resolution," he said, responding to questions on reports of disengagement of Indian and Chinese troops from Pangong lake area of Ladakh.

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The border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5 following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry even as the two sides continued military and diplomatic talks.

Military commanders of both the armies held the 10th round of talks on the Chinese side of the Moldo/Chushul border meeting point on February 20.

A joint statement issued at the end of a lengthy round of talks said the two sides positively appraised the smooth completion of disengagement of frontline troops in the Pangong Lake area, noting that it was a significant step forward that provided a good basis for resolution of other remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Sector.

"We're continuing to monitor the situation. We certainly welcome the reports of de-escalation and we're closely following those initial reports of troop disengagement," Price said.

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    The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long LAC. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet, while India contests it.

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