Updated: September 17, 2020 7:20:52 pm
Ahead of another round of talks at the Corps Commander-level between India and China to resolve the crisis along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said a consensus had been reached at recent ministerial talks that there should be “quick and complete disengagement of troops”.
Pursuant to the consensus reached, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said India hoped the Chinese side would not make further attempts to “unilaterally” change the status quo at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“There was consensus between the ministers of the two sides, during both the meetings, that there should be quick and complete disengagement of troops from all friction areas along the LAC. The Chinese side should sincerely work with the Indian side for complete disengagement at the earliest from all friction areas including Pangong lake,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at the weekly briefing.
Last week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had agreed upon a five-point approach to resolve the over-three-month-old border standoff. The ministers had agreed that their troops “should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions”.
The emphasis in the statement on “quick” disengagement and “maintaining distance” reflects the urgency over the situation in Ladakh, especially on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso where troops are within firing range of each other.
In the Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also echoed the importance of the Moscow agreement between Jaishankar and Wang Yi, saying “if (the pact) is implemented sincerely and faithfully by the Chinese side, could lead to complete disengagement and restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas”.
The MEA further said both sides should focus on easing tensions in friction areas by refraining from actions that may escalate situation. “This requires strict adherence to the bilateral agreements and protocols and not making unilateral attempts to change the status quo,” Srivastava said.
While China pulled back its troops from Patrolling Point-14 in Galwan to its side of the LAC during the disengagement in early July, a small number of Chinese troops remain on the Indian side of the LAC at PP-15 in the area called Hot Springs, and PP-17A in the nearby Gogra Post. On Pangong Tso’s north bank, Chinese troops never vacated the Finger 4 ridgeline, and are less than 500 metres away from Indian troops where the ridge meets Finger 3.
Tensions escalated after shots were fired along the LAC for the first time in 45 years as Indian troops out-maneuvered China to capture key heights on the stretch from the south bank to Rechin La near Rezang La in the intervening night of August 29 and 30.
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