India asserts until China retreats to pre-May 5 position, no resolution possible, rejects its untenable claims on Galwan
The talks between senior commanders from India and China didn’t achieve any breakthrough on Thursday, even as India also took strong exception to China claiming sovereignty over the Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh, saying its “exaggerated and untenable claims” are contrary to the understanding reached on the issue between the two sides.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said this after China claimed that the Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh is a part of its territory. “As we have conveyed earlier today, External Affairs Minister and the State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China had a phone conversation on recent developments in Ladakh,” Srivastava said late on Wednesday.
“Both sides have agreed the overall situation should be handled in a responsible manner and that the understandings reached between Senior Commanders on 6th June should be implemented sincerely. Making exaggerated and untenable claims is contrary to this understanding,” he said.
Making New Delhi’s stand clear on Thursday, the MEA said, “India and China have been discussing through military and diplomatic channels the de-escalation of the situation in the border area in Eastern Ladakh. “On 6th June 2020, the Corps Commanders of India and China held a meeting in the Chushul Moldo region where an agreement was reached on de-escalation and disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Ground Commanders were meeting regularly to implement this consensus throughout last week.
“While it was our expectation that this would unfold smoothly, the Chinese side departed from the consensus to respect the LAC in the Galwan valley. On the late evening and night of June 15, a violent face-off happened when the Chinese side unilaterally attempted to change the status quo there. They took premeditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties suffered by both sides. This could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side,” the Ministry said.
Given its responsible approach to border management, India is very clear that all its activities are always within the Indian side of the LAC. We expect the Chinese side to also confine its activities to its side of the LAC, the Ministry said.
“It was agreed that both sides would implement the dis-engagement understanding of 6th June sincerely. Neither side would take any action to escalate matters and instead, ensure peace and tranquility as per bilateral agreements and protocols,” the Government said.
The two sides are in regular touch through their respective embassies and foreign offices. At the ground level the two sides have maintained communication at the commanders’ level. Meetings of other established diplomatic mechanisms such as Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs are under discussion.
The External Affairs Ministry also asserted that “While we remain firmly convinced of the need for maintenance of peace and tranquility in the borders areas and the resolution of differences through dialogue, at the same time, as the Prime Minister stated yesterday, we are also strongly committed to ensuring India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Meanwhile, the senior commanders from India and China held talks for third consecutive day on Thursday. The main focus was to restore peace there and ensure that the mutually agreed withdrawal of troops takes place unhindered.
So far the Chinese have not shown any inclination to restore the status quo ante pre May 5 at the LAC in Ladakh. This is India’s main condition. New Delhi cannot accept anything short of it, because that would mean conceding Indian territory to China.
There has not been any breakthrough in this regard and the all official comments from both sides have remained mired in the jargon of disengagement and de-escalation.
The agreement to pull back troops from all the four face-off sites was arrived at on June 6 during the talks between Lt General Harinder Singh and Major General Liu Lin. India has maintained that China agreed to withdraw troops from the operational areas and shift them back to peacetime locations. It was also reportedly agreed between the two sides to remove heavy weapons also from forward areas.
However, the entire scenario changed after the violent clashes on Monday in the Galwan valley leaving 20 Indian soldiers including their commanding officer Colonel B Santosh Babu dead.
Since Monday night Major General level officers of both the armies are holding talks at Patrol Point 14 but failed to make any breakthrough till Wednesday. On Thursday, the two officers met again at the LAC and agreed to continue the dialogue to find ways to cool down tempers at the border. Incidentally, the troops from both the sides had disengaged from the brawl site, officials said.
Friday, 19 June 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
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