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Jaishankar, China counterpart review status of disengagement

The Centre has said the disengagement in the North and South Bank is a “significant first step” and the two sides will work towards a mutually acceptable resolution of the “remaining issues”.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi |
February 26, 2021 4:01:41 am
Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar (File Photo)

Days after India and China completed disengagement at Pangong Tso, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to Chinese State Councillor and Foreign minister Wang Yi on Thursday and reviewed the status of disengagement.

The Centre has said the disengagement in the North and South Bank is a “significant first step” and the two sides will work towards a mutually acceptable resolution of the “remaining issues”.

“Spoke to State Councilor & Foreign Minister Wang Yi this afternoon. Discussed the implementation of our Moscow Agreement and reviewed the status of disengagement,” Jaishankar tweeted on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, in response to questions, that the 10th round of the Senior Commanders meeting was held on February 20, which was convened within 48 hours of the completion of disengagement in the North and South Bank of Pangong Tso.

Recalling the joint statement after the Corps Commanders’ meeting, the MEA spokesperson said, “The two sides had candid and in-depth exchange of views on the remaining issues along the LAC in the Western sector.”

“Both sides view the smooth and successful completion of disengagement in the North and South Bank as a significant first step as this forms a basis for resolution of remaining issues so as to achieve the eventual goal of complete disengagement in all friction areas. The two sides have agreed to work towards a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues,” the spokesperson said.

Sources said that the two sides have exchanged proposals on outstanding issues in the region during the 10th round of military-level talks.

Both sides have agreed to continue with talks, which can happen at “various levels”, they said. “Some forward movement” in discussions on friction points at Hot Springs and Gogra Post can be expected first before any move on the more contentious Depsang Plains, they said.

The final breakthrough in the diplomatic-military level talks deadlock had come at the January 24 meeting of the Indian and Chinese Corps Commanders, which was the 9th round of military-level talks.

Sources said the combined team of military and diplomats in both formats of engagement — the Corps Commander-level talks and the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs — helped in formulating a “coherent response” to the Chinese challenge, both militarily and diplomatically.

After the breakthrough in the ninth round of talks, the two sides had worked on the details.

However, sources said “lot of work” is left in the other friction points, including the Depsang plains. But New Delhi is aware of the challenges, having seen at least three false starts last year—in June (when the Galwan incident happened), in July (after the NSA-level talks, a limited disengagement took place) and again in September (when there was no movement despite the Defence minister- and External Affairs minister-level talks).

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