The government said on Friday that following the disengagement of Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, it is not in the interest of either side to prolong the remaining boundary issues between the two countries.
The statement came a day after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a conversation over phone that lasted for 75 minutes.
The Indian Foreign Minister told his Chinese counterpart that “a prolongation of the existing situation was not in the interest of either side. It was, therefore, necessary that the two sides should work towards early resolution of remaining issues”, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on Friday.
It is necessary to disengage at all friction points in order to contemplate de-escalation of forces in this sector. That alone will lead to the restoration of peace and tranquility and provide conditions for the progress of bilateral relationship, Jaishankar told Wang Yi.
The two Foreign Ministers discussed the situation along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh and also issues related to the overall India-China relations, as per the statement.
Jaishankar referred to the meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister in September 2020 in Moscow where the Indian side had expressed its concern on provocative behaviour and unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter status quo. He also noted that the bilateral relations have been impacted severely over the last year.
The ‘Boundary Question’, he said, may take time to resolve, but disturbance of peace and tranquility, including by violence, will inevitably have a damaging impact on the relationship.
The minister said that during their meeting in Moscow last year, both ministers had agreed that the situation in the border areas was not in the interest of either side and decided that the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage and ease tensions.
He noted that the two sides had maintained continuous communication since then through both diplomatic and military channels. This had led to progress as both sides had successfully disengaged in the Pangong Tso Lake area earlier this month.
Noting the completion of disengagement in the Pangong Lake area, Jaishankar emphasised that both sides should now quickly resolve the remaining issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.
He said that once disengagement is completed at all friction points, the two sides could also look at broader deescalation of troops in the area and work towards restoration of peace and tranquility.
The MEA statement said that Wang Yi, on his part, expressed satisfaction at the progress made so far. He felt that it was an important step forward for restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas. He also conveyed that it was is necessary to sincerely implement the common understanding reached at various levels.
The Chinese Foreign Minister said that both sides should make efforts to consolidate the outcomes. He also spoke about the need to improve management and control in the border areas.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi also noted that the Indian side had proposed ‘three mutuals’ (mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interest) as the approach to the relationship. He also agreed on the importance of taking the long view of India-China ties. The two ministers agreed to remain in touch and establish a hotline.