Maintaining peace and tranquility along Sino-India border in common interests of both parties: China

K J M Varma

Beijing, Jun 24 (PTI) China on Wednesday said maintaining peace along the Sino-India border is in the common interests of both the countries and requires joint efforts, even as it accused the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Indian media of making 'some false reports' during the border tensions.

In separate statements, the Chinese foreign and the defence ministries also repeated Beijing's stand that India was responsible for the June 15 violent face-off in eastern Ladakh.

While Defence Ministry Spokesman Col Wu Qian asserted that China and India are 'important neighbours to each other' and the two sides should make great efforts to jointly ease the current border situation, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian again accused India of 'provoking' a border clash, saying 'the onus is not on China's part.' Zhao also alleged that the MEA and the Indian media have made 'some false reports.' Asked why after a positive meeting between the army commanders of India and China, he is making these allegations, Zhao said, 'what I have just said is meant to clarify the whole situation, tell the truth to everyone. We made this statement because the MEA in India and also Indian media have made some false reports.' In New Delhi, the MEA issued a release after the countries held diplomatic talks which said India and China have agreed that expeditious implementation of the previously agreed understanding on disengagement of troops from standoff points in eastern Ladakh would help ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

During the talks, which were held between Naveen Srivastava, Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the MEA, and Wu Jianghao, Director General in the Chinese foreign ministry, through video conferencing, the situation in the region was discussed in detail and the Indian side conveyed its concerns over the violent face-off in Galwan Valley on June 15. Twenty Indian Army personnel were killed in the clash, the MEA said.

'In this regard, it was emphasised that both sides should strictly respect and observe the Line of Actual Control,' the MEA added.

Asserting that 'China and India are important neighbours to each other' and maintaining a peaceful and tranquil border region is in the common interests of both sides and requires common efforts as well, the Chinese defence ministry spokesman said, 'the two sides should make great efforts to jointly ease the current border situation and uphold peace and stability in the border areas.' In the Chinese text circulated in his online press conference, the Chinese defence ministry spokesman said the two defence ministers are negotiating on the phone but English text circulated later made no reference to the defence ministers' talks.

'The two sides held a second military-level meeting on June 22 to exchange in-depth views on controlling tensions and maintaining peace and stability in the border areas,' the Chinese defence ministry spokesman said.

In New Delhi, when asked whether the two defence ministers are negotiating on the phone, the ministry officials said it was 'not correct.' Zhao said the foreign ministers of the two sides during their telephone talk on June 17 agreed to deal with this serious matter in a just way.

'The two sides will stick to the commander-level meeting consensus and cool down the situations soon as possible. The two sides will also try to maintain peace and tranquility of the border areas, in accordance with the agreement reached so far,” he said.

Zhao also said that a second round of commander-level meeting was held on June 22 and 23 during which the “two sides agreed to take measures to de-escalate the situation and jointly promote peace and tranquility.” The talks were held in the midst of escalating tension between the two countries following the violent clashes in Galwan Valley on June 15.

The Indian and Chinese armies are engaged in the standoff in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh. A sizable number of Chinese Army personnel even transgressed into the Indian side of the de-facto border in several areas including Pangong Tso. The Indian Army has been fiercely objecting to the transgressions, and demanded their immediate withdrawal for restoration of peace and tranquillity in the area. Both sides held a series of talks in the last few days to resolve the border row. PTI KJV ZH AKJ PYK ZH ZH