China on Monday declined to say that the standoff between its troops and the Indian army in Ladakh had been resolved and instead garbed its comments in ambiguous terms.
Asked specifically to comment on whether Chinese troops had withdrawn from Indian territory, foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying only said that the two sides have maintained contact through relevant mechanisms and discussions had proved fruitful.
Hua did not share specific details what was the current status of the standoff.
On Monday, Indian media reports said that troops from both countries had moved back to their original positions.
“Following the standoff incident at the border China and India with the larger interest of bilateral relation in mind have taken cooperative and constructive attitude exercising restraint. (They have) properly handled the incident through relevant mechanisms like diplomatic channels and border meetings. As far as I know relevant consultations have been fruitful,” Hua said at the regular press briefing on Monday.
Aerial view of five tents erected by Chinese troops inside Indian territory in Daulat Beg Oldi sector of Ladakh. PTI
Since the confrontation was first reported in the third week of April, the Chinese government had always maintained its troops had not crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the disputed border that divides the two neighbours; Chinese troops were patrolling on their side of the LAC, was the stand taken by the Communist government.
Keeping China’s earlier fixed stand in mind, it could only be speculated whether that was the reason why Beijing cannot now say that its troops had pulled back; that would be accepting it’s border troops had violated the LAC in the first place.
When asked about the troops’ new position, Hua said "I have said the two sides have been constructive and cooperative and have been maintaining communications through relevant mechanism in the border regions. Relevant consultations have made positive progress".
"I believe the Chinese and Indian sides should maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas and work for the smooth development of bilateral relations,” she said.
“China is ready to join hands with the Indian side to seek a solution… in a mutually acceptable and fair solution to the border question at an early date,” she added.
The issue is likely to remain top in the agenda of external affairs minister, Salman Khurshid, who will pay an official visit to China on May 09, 2013 at the invitation of the foreign minister of China, Wang Yi.
The two ministers will discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of concern to both sides. They will also discuss the proposed visit to India of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang later this month.