1 October 2020 4:30:36 am
A day after Beijing strengthened its position and said it does not recognize the territory of the Ladakh Union and is against building Indian infrastructure there, Indian and Chinese diplomats met virtually and New Delhi said both sides should avoid misunderstandings and maintain stability in the soil.
As the India-China Border Issues Consultation and Coordination Working Mechanism (WMCC) met for the fifth time since the beginning of the border blockade in May, they said the next round of the Senior Commanders meeting should be held in a early date, so that both sides can work towards early and complete secession of troops along the LAC in accordance with existing bilateral agreement and protocols, and fully restore peace and tranquility.
Following the WMCC meeting, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that both sides reviewed the current situation along the Current Control Line (LAC) in the India-China border areas and had frank and detailed discussions on developments since the last WMCC meeting on August 20, 2020.
No progress, but no escalation
Indian and Chinese diplomats sat down on Wednesday and held talks. While there is no progress in blocking the border, the situation on the ground has not yet escalated. The key will be to continue with the non-escalation and then move on to the de-escalation.
Both sides attached importance to the meetings between the two Defense Ministers and the two Foreign Ministers held earlier this month. They also noted that the agreement between the two Foreign Ministers should be implemented sincerely to ensure secession at all points of friction along the LAC, she said.
In this regard, she said that both sides positively assessed the outcome of the 6th meeting of Senior Commanders on 21 September. They stressed the need to implement the steps outlined in the joint press release issued after the last meeting of senior commanders in order to avoid misunderstandings and maintain stability on the ground. In this context, the need to strengthen communication, especially between ground commanders, was stressed by both sides.
The MEA statement also said the two sides agreed to continue to hold close consultations at the diplomatic and military level. In this regard, they agreed that the next (7th) round of the Senior Commanders meeting should be held at an early date so that both sides can work towards the early and complete disengagement of the troops along LAC in line with existing bilateral agreement and protocols and fully restore peace and tranquility, the statement said.
At the 19th WMCC meeting on Wednesday, the Indian delegation was led by the Joint Secretary (East Asia) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Director General of the Border and Ocean Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs led the Chinese delegation.
MEA Joint Secretary Naveen Srivastava, who led the Indian delegation, was part of the last meeting of Corps Commanders in Moldo last week.
Pushing its old line of claims in Ladakh and strengthening its position on the situation there, Beijing had said on Tuesday that it does not recognize the territory of the Ladakh Union and is against the construction of Indian infrastructure there.
New Delhi had reacted harshly, saying it had never accepted the so-called 1959 unilaterally defined Line of Control and that it was unstable.
The exchange comes a week after their military commanders met in Moldova following Moscow’s agreement between foreign ministers to reduce tensions along the LAC.
Beijing’s comments now run counter to the spirit of the conversation between Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on September 10. The strengthening of China’s position was also reflected in a statement stating that it adhered to the LAC as proposed by Prime Minister Zhou Enlai to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in a letter dated November 7, 1959.
In New Delhi, the MEA responded to this statement. India has never accepted the so-called 1959 unilateral Line of Control (LAC). This position has been stable and well known, including the Chinese side, MEA spokesman Anurag Srivastava said on Tuesday.
The Indian response, sharp in tone and tenor, after the sixth round of Corps Commander-level talks, which was also attended by a senior Indian diplomat who heads the WMCC, signals that both sides have strengthened their positions also diplomatically.
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