Two sides also resolve to disengage and withdraw their armed forces from friction points at the earliest through mutually agreed processes
India and China on Thursday reiterated their commitment to ease the present tension at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh through sustained dialogue at all levels.
The two sides also resolved to disengage and withdraw their armed forces from the friction points at the earliest through mutually agreed processes.
These understanding emerged in the much-awaited bilateral meeting between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow against the backdrop of the worsening situation at the LAC.
The two sides on Thursday held yet another round of Brigadier-level talks to end the impasse but no result so far. These talks focused on the situation emerging after India on August 29-30 foiled the Chinese bid to alter the status quo on the LAC in the southern banks of the Pangong Tso (lake) in Eastern Ladakh. In a proactive action, the Indian forces also occupied the crucial hilltops in the south and north banks of the lake thereby giving them an advantage.
The political-level parleys in Moscow took place on the sidelines of the Foreign Ministers’ conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). This was the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders. They had talked on the phone on June 17 after the bloody brawl in the Galwan valley two days earlier leaving 20 Indian Army personnel, including the commanding officer dead.
The high-level engagement came against the backdrop of the LAC becoming volatile after the Chinese fired a few rounds in the air on September 7. It was the first time in 45 years that firearms were used at the 4,000 km long LAC.
Incidentally, these provocative actions, including the Chinese repeatedly trying to dislodge the Indian soldiers from the hilltops in the last few days and ramping up their troop strength, took place days after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held two and half hour long meeting with China Defence Minister Wei Fenghe.
The bilateral interaction at the request of the Chinese Defence Minister, however, did not yield the desired result as the situation worsened at the border afterward. The two Ministers had reaffirmed their faith in defusing the tension through dialogue and bring peace and tranquility at the LAC.
Terming the current situation as “more serious than 1962 (when the two countries fought a war),” Jaishankar recently said diplomacy alone will solve the issue. He then gave the past examples of 2013 and 2017 when there were prolonged stand-offs in the Depsang valley and Doklam respectively. Sustained talks at the military and diplomatic levels helped in ending the face-offs then.
The External Affairs Minister also pitched for political-level talks to address the current four-month long logjam at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. His comments to have “very, very deep conversations” to end the stalemate came as five rounds of military and an equal number of diplomatic talks in the last few weeks failed to end the hostilities. Another round of the Corps Commander-level talks was expected in the next two or three days, sources said.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said here India and China are in touch via diplomatic, military channels to resolve the situation.
He also said this was the consensus when the Defence Ministers of India and China met. India is committed to resolving the border situation via peaceful negotiations, he added.
More than one lakh troops from both sides are now amassed at the tense LAC in Ladakh with China and India also deploying their tanks and heavy guns close to the forward areas. Also, the Chinese have deployed 150 aircraft and helicopters close to the LAC in the last few weeks. Not willing to take any chances, the IAF has also placed its frontline fighter jets in the forward bases all along the 4,000 km long LAC.
Friday, 11 September 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
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