During the meeting India maintained that the recent incidents in eastern Ladakh, has “Inevitably impacted the development of the bilateral relationship.” Therefore, an urgent resolution of the current situation was in the interest of both nations.
In the meeting, sources said that the Indian side highlighted its strong concern at the massing of Chinese troops with equipment along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The presence of such large concentration of troops was not in accordance with the 1993 and 1996 Agreements and created flashpoints along the LAC. The Chinese side has not provided a “credible explanation” for this deployment. India also underlined that the “provocative behavior of Chinese frontline troops at numerous incidents of friction along the LAC also showed disregard for bilateral agreements and protocols,” said sources.
Both sides agreed that the immediate task is to ensure a comprehensive disengagement of troops in all the friction areas to prevent any untoward incident in the future. The final disposition of the troop deployment to their permanent posts and the phasing of the process are to be worked out by the military commanders.
The Indian side clearly conveyed that it expected full adherence to all agreements on the management of border areas and would not countenance “any attempt to change the status quo unilaterally”. It was also emphasized that the Indian troops had scrupulously followed all agreements and protocols pertaining to the management of the border areas.
EAM while underlining that India-China relation has developed on a largely positive trajectory over past decades said that there have been incidents from time to time but peace and tranquility has largely prevailed in the border areas.
During the discussions, while the Indian side recognized that a solution to the boundary question required time and effort, it was also clear that the maintenance of peace and tranquility along the border areas was essential to the forward development of ties.
In the 5 point press statement released following the 2.5 hour-long talks, the two Ministers agreed that both sides should take guidance from the series of consensus of the leaders on developing India-China relations. Agreeing that the current situation along the border areas is not in the interest of either side both the ministers agreed “the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions,” said the statement.
The two Ministers agreed that both sides shall abide by all the existing agreements and protocol on China-India boundary affairs, maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas and avoid any action that could escalate matters.
According to the joint statement, India and China have agreed to continue to have dialogue and communication through the Special Representative mechanism on the India-China boundary question. Accordingly, the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs (WMCC), would also continue its meetings.
The Ministers also agreed that as the situation eases, “the two sides should expedite work to conclude new Confidence Building Measures to maintain and enhance peace and tranquility in the border areas”.
Report By Abhishek Jha