India, China Agree to Find Solution on Friction Points, Differ on Urgency

New Delhi: India and China on Friday, June 25, agreed to maintain dialogue to reach a mutually acceptable solution on the remaining friction points along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh, but the two countries did not appear to have consensus on its immediate urgency.

The two sides held official-level diplomatic talks under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) on Friday.

While the Indian delegation was led by MEA Additional Secretary (East Asia), Naveen Srivastav, the Chinese side was chaired by Director General of the Boundary & Oceanic Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hong Liang.

According to the MEA readout, both sides “agreed on the need to find an early resolution to the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh keeping in view of the agreement reached between the two Foreign Ministers in September 2020”.

However, the Chinese foreign ministry’s Chinese language press note skipped any mention of “early” or any other time-related phrase for finding the resolution for the “remaining issues” in Eastern Ladakh.

This was the only major divergence in the separate press releases issued by two foreign offices.

“The two sides exchanged candid and in-depth views on border issues and bilateral relations, and agreed to consolidate the results of the disengagement of border troops between the two sides and properly resolve the remaining issues in the western part of the China-India border in accordance with the consensus reached by the foreign ministers of the two countries,” said China’s note, as per a rough translation.

Also read: China Reiterates That India Is Responsible For Ladakh Stand-Off

Both the MEA and the Chinese foreign ministry stated that there had been frank and candid exchange of views. 

“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 tranquillity to enable progress in the bilateral relations,” the MEA said in a statement.

China also stated that they had “agreed to continue high-level diplomatic communication, provide further important guidance on the situation at the China-India border, and actively prepare for the 12th round of military-level talks to determine specific time and arrangements through the border hotline as soon as possible”.

The MEA said it was also agreed that in the interim, the two sides will continue to ensure stability on the ground and prevent any untoward incident.

“The two sides agreed to hold the next round of the Senior Commanders meeting at an early date to achieve the objective of complete disengagement from all the friction points along the LAC in the Western Sector in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols,” the ministry added.

The Chinese foreign ministry also expressed similar sentiment. “The two sides will continue to work to promote further de-escalation of the situation at the border, avoid the recurrence of the situation on the ground, and jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” it said.

Indian and Chinese military have been on stand-off at multiple points in eastern Ladakh since May 2020. This confrontation has already led to the first loss of lives and triggered use of firepower at the LAC in over four decades. The two countries have disengaged at the south and north banks of Pangong Tso, but there has been no movement at the other remaining Hot Spring and Gogra post, along with Depsang Plains.

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