India again calls for early meeting of military commanders on LAC standoff
India on Thursday again called for the next round of talks between Indian and Chinese military commanders to be held “at the earliest” to discuss and resolve all remaining issues related to the standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
There has been no forward movement since external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi met in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe on July 14 and agreed that the meeting of military commanders should be organised as soon as possible.
“The two leaders agreed that the next round of commander level talks should be convened at the earliest, wherein the two sides should discuss all the remaining issues and seek a mutually acceptable solution,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told a weekly news briefing.
“There was also an understanding that both sides will continue to ensure stability on the ground and neither side will take any unilateral action that could increase tension,” he said.
Differences had emerged between the two sides following the meeting in Dushanbe. While Jaishankar said both sides should speedily resolve the remaining issues on the LAC since the standoff was negatively impacting bilateral ties, Wang contended that the situation in the border areas had de-escalated and the two countries should set aside the standoff to expand bilateral cooperation.
Bagchi noted that Jaishankar had told the Chinese side that “both sides had agreed that a prolongation of the existing situation was not in the interest of either side and that it was visibly impacting the relationship in a negative manner”.
Jaishankar also emphasised that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas has been the “foundation for the development of ties” since 1988.
“Attempts to change the status quo last year, which also disregarded commitments under the 1993 and 1996 agreements, have inevitably affected ties. It was, therefore, in mutual interest that the two sides work towards early resolution of the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh, while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols,” Bagchi said.
The Indian side has insisted that there has been lack of progress in disengagement and de-escalation of frontline troops following a limited drawdown on the north and south banks of Pangong Lake in February. Last month, India again blamed China’s actions of amassing troops in border areas and attempting to alter the status quo on the LAC for the standoff.