‘India, China agree early resolution would contribute to further development of relationship’: MEA
India and China will continue military and diplomatic engagements to resolve a weeks-old stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the external affairs ministry said on Sunday, indicating that a meeting of top army commanders had ended without a breakthrough.
A delegation led Lt Gen Harinder Singh, commander of Leh-based 14 Corps, had held an hours-long meeting with a Chinese delegation led by Maj Gen Liu Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang military region, at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC on Saturday – the first meeting of top military officials of the two sides since the stand-off began in early May.
The talks, slated to begin early on Saturday morning, were delayed by several hours. They began at about 11.30 am and continued till late on Saturday evening. People familiar with developments said they had ended inconclusively.
A statement issued by the external affairs ministry on Sunday morning said that, “the two sides will continue the military and diplomatic engagements to resolve the situation and to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas”.
The statement said Saturday’s meeting between the Indian and Chinese army commanders “took place in a cordial and positive atmosphere”. It added that both sides had agreed to work towards resolving the situation through peaceful means and in line with existing agreements for peace along the frontier.
“Both sides agreed to peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas in accordance with various bilateral agreements and keeping in view the agreement between the leaders that peace and tranquillity in the India-China border regions is essential for the overall development of bilateral relations,” the statement said.
“Both sides also noted that this year marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and agreed that an early resolution would contribute to the further development of the relationship,” the statement added.
The statement further noted that, in recent weeks, India and China have “maintained communications through established diplomatic and military channels to address the situation” along the LAC.
The people cited above, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they expect the process to resolve the stand-off to be long-drawn.
A day ahead of the crucial talks between the army commanders, India and China agreed on Friday on not allowing their differences to escalate into disputes while respecting each other’s concerns.
Joint secretary (East Asia) Naveen Srivastava of the external affairs ministry had held talks with Wu Jianghao, director general in China’s foreign ministry, through video conference on Friday and reviewed bilateral relations, including “current developments”. This was the first formal diplomatic meeting between the two sides since tensions flared along the LAC.
The army commanders met almost a month after tensions between India and China flared along the disputed border and took bilateral ties to a new low.
India has dismissed China’s contention that its troops were hindering the activities of Chinese troops along the LAC, and has accused Chinese forces of hindering patrols on the Indian side. The Indian government has also made it clear that it won’t allow any change in the status quo along the LAC and that it will tackle the prevailing situation with “strength and restraint”.