Ladakh incident face-off, not skirmish; resolved via bilateral talks: Jaishankar

Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar addresses media on 100 days of MEA on Tuesday. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

INDIA ON Tuesday said the recent incident between Indian and Chinese soldiers on the bank of the Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh was not a skirmish but a face-off, which was resolved using bilateral mechanisms in place to defuse such situations.

A scuffle broke out between Indian and Chinese soldiers on the bank of the lake last Wednesday but the matter was swiftly resolved through talks between the two militaries. The face-off had ended following delegation-level talks between the two sides.

Addressing the 100-day press conference of the Ministry of External Affairs, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said: We did not have a skirmish, I want to be very clear I think there was what we call a face-off. It was resolved.

From time to time that has happened and it has happened because you have deferring perceptions of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and patrols meet and some time that kind of situation happens. A lot of effort has gone into mechanisms and procedures to address such situations, he said.

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In the recent incident, the mechanisms kicked into play and they addressed the issue as it had been done in the past, Jaishankar said.

Asked about reports of Chinese ships around the Indian Ocean region, he said it was not a diplomatic matter, but an operational issue under the purview of the Navy.

On China s aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea, Jaishankar said India is working in conjunction with the Vietnamese.

He also called for patience on the announcement of dates and venue of Chinese President Xi Jinping s informal summit, saying it will be made public when details are finalised.

Asked if the visit of China s Special Representative for border talks Wang Yi had been rescheduled, Jaishankar said: Often people float dates. For me no dates are dates until (Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson) Raveesh Kumar says so….There was no rescheduling. Our NSA was preoccupied so not much should be read on that.

On India s position on the Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei, the minister said India will take a call not just on Huawei, but on 5G.

I believe there is a complicated process of trials and how that moves. Again I think people are unnecessarily politicising it. This is about telecom… there could be technological implications, there could be other implications, he said.

To look at it as a foreign policy choice would not be an accurate assessment, Jaishankar said.