India, China agree to ensure stability at borders to find an early solution in conflict areas

NEW DELHI: Diplomats of India and China on Friday agreed to ensure stability at their borders as they keep engaged to find an early solution to the tensions at friction points in eastern Ladakh where thousands of security personnel of the two countries have been standing eye ball to eye ball for nearly 14 months.

In the “interim,” the two countries “will continue to ensure stability on the ground and prevent any untoward incident,” an Indian foreign ministry statement said after the latest round of the talks under the aegis of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs.

The talks between the two sides were “frank,” the statement said – indicating the possibility of intense exchanges between the two delegations – on the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.

A statement issued by the Chinese side also said that that the conversation between the Indian and Chinese delegation was “candid” the exchange of views was “in-depth.”

The two sides “agreed to consolidate the disengagement progress of the border troops of the two countries and properly settle the remaining issues in the western sector of the China-India boundary in accordance with the consensus reached by the two foreign ministers,” the Chinese statement said.

“The two sides will remain committed to further easing the border situation, avoiding relapse and jointly maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas. The two sides agreed to continue to maintain high-level diplomatic communication to further provide important guidance for properly handling China-India border situation, and actively prepare for the 12th round of Senior Commanders Meeting of which the specific date and arrangement to be finalised through the border hotline at the earliest,” the Chinese statement said referring to communication links between the two countries at their common border.

On its part, the Indian statement said that the two countries had “agreed on the need to find an early resolution to the remaining issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh keeping in view the agreement reached between the two Foreign Ministers in September 2020″ – a reference to talks held between the foreign ministers of India and China in Russia.

“In this regard, the two sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through the diplomatic and military mechanisms to reach a mutually acceptable solution for complete disengagement from all friction points so as to ensure full restoration of peace and tranquility to enable progress in the bilateral relations,” it said.

The two countries also agreed that they would hold the next round of India-China senior military commander level talks “to achieve the objective of complete disengagement from all the friction points along the LAC….in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols,” the Indian statement added.

Ties between India and China have been tense since India last year detected Chinese military intrusions into its territory in May last year. The situation deteriorated in June after a violent clash between the two sides that killed 20 soldiers on the Indian side and an unknown number of personnel on the Chinese side. The clashes in June last year were the first in over 40 years.

This year in February, the two countries reached agreement on disengagement from one of the many friction points in Ladakh. But there has been no breakthrough in disengagement from another three friction areas where troops of the two countries stand eye ball to eye ball.

India has said that normalization of ties with China cannot happen till there is disengagement and de-escalation of troops. This is a view that Beijing disagrees with saying that the situation on the border should not hamper ties in other areas.

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