Imperative for China to adhere to agreements on LAC, says India
Against the backdrop of a US commission concluding that the deadly June 15 clash in Galwan Valley was planned by Beijing, New Delhi said on Thursday it is imperative for China to adhere to agreements on not taking any unilateral action to alter the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The “core issue” continues to be strict adherence to bilateral agreements and protocols for maintaining peace and tranquillity along the LAC, external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at a weekly news briefing when he was asked about the report of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
The commission, in its report submitted to the US Congress on December 1, said evidence suggested the Chinese government had planned the “massive physical brawl in the Galwan Valley” between People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Indian troops on June 15, “potentially including the possibility for fatalities”. The clash resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and unspecified Chinese casualties.
Srivastava referred to a statement issued by the external affairs ministry following a conversation between external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi two days after the violent face-off in Galwan Valley.
“I would stress that the core issue remains that both sides need to strictly follow the various bilateral agreements and protocols in their entirety, including the 1993 and 1996 agreements on maintenance of peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the border areas, which require that there should not be amassing of troops, each side should strictly abide by and respect the LAC, and should not take any unilateral action to alter it,” he said.
Despite several rounds of diplomatic and military talks, the two sides haven’t been able to agree on a roadmap for disengagement and de-escalation at friction points in Ladakh sector of the LAC, including Depsang and Pangong Lake. There has also been no official word on the holding of the ninth round of talks between senior military commanders, even as tens of thousands of troops of the two sides have dug in for the winter.
Srivastava said the two sides “continue to maintain communication through diplomatic and military channels with the objective of ensuring complete disengagement in all friction points along the LAC” and full restoration of peace and tranquillity.
“Both sides have agreed to have another round of senior commanders’ meeting at an appropriate time. As and when we have more information, we will share it with you,” he said.
In response to another question on whether China’s actions had figured during a recent conversation between the foreign ministers of India and Australia, Srivastava said New Delhi and Canberra had elevated their bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership in June and are committed to a rules-based global order.
“Given the depth and importance of our bilateral relations, naturally, we exchange views on regional and global developments as well as current issues of concern,” he said, adding bilateral engagements span critical minerals, infrastructure, maritime cooperation, counter-terrorism and cyber security.
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