India's External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar had a conversation over the phone for 75 minutes with China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday, 25 February, with the two discussing the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh as well as issues related to the overall India-China relations.
WHAT DID MEA SAY?
Issuing a statement on the conversation, the Ministry of External Affairs said, "The EAM referred to the meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister in September 2020 in Moscow where Indian side had expressed its concern on provocative behaviour and unilateral attempts of Chinese side to alter status quo."
"He noted that the bilateral relations have been impacted severely over the last year. EAM said that the boundary question may take time to resolve, but disturbance of peace and tranquility, including by violence, will inevitably have a damaging impact on the relationship," the ministry added.
Jaishankar, while noting the completion of disengagement in the Pangong Lake area, also stressed on the need for both sides to quickly resolve the remaining issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh, the ministry pointed out.
"“The EAM said that once disengagement is completed at all friction points, then the two sides could also look at broader de-escalation of troops in the area and work towards the restoration of peace and tranquility.”" - MEA statement
Earlier on Thursday, Jaishankar had tweeted about the conversation, saying the two “discussed the implementation of our Moscow Agreement and reviewed the status of disengagement”.
What Did the Chinese Foreign Minister Say?
Chinese foreign representative Yi, too, expressed satisfaction at the progress made by both sides, as per a statement by the Chinese External Affairs Ministry.
Emphasising on the learnings from the past, the Chinese counterpart said that China and India must “cherish the hard-won relaxation, keep up the momentum of consultation, work together to consolidate the progress, improve the border management and control mechanisms and advance boundary talks to build up trust and realise peace and tranquility along border areas.”
Noting that the knowledge that the countries have previously engaged in boundary disputes is an undeniable fact, Yi stated that it should only be placed at an appropriate position in bilateral ties, and India and China should move forward in partnership rather than hindrance.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED SO FAR?
The tenth round of disengagement talks between India and China, which were held on 20 February, had lasted around 16 hours.
Following the round of talks, the Ministry of Defence said that the two sides “positively appraised the smooth completion of disengagement of frontline troops in the Pangong Lake area”.
Further, according to the Defence Ministry, the two sides noted that it was a significant step forward that provided “a good basis for resolution of other remaining issues along the LAC in Western Sector.”
As per images and videos accessed by The Quint via Indian Army sources, the Indian and Chinese troops were seen moving away tanks, dismantling structures and deinducting troops from the sites, as was agreed upon in the ninth round of military commander level talks.
India and China have been engaged in diplomatic and military talks after tensions began rising along the high-altitude border in April 2020. The situation escalated when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a physical clash in mid-June at Galwan Valley in Ladakh.
Earlier in February, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had told the Parliament that both sides had agreed to pull back troops in “a phased, coordinated and verified manner” around Pangong Tso, after which military commanders would discuss ending the standoff in other parts of Ladakh.
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