Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi have agreed that the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of the communist country should quickly pull back troops, stay away from each other’s positions and defuse tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto boundary between the two nations.
The meeting between Jaishankar and Wang on the sidelines of a conclave of the Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on Thursday, which resulted in a five-point consensus to resolve the stand-off along LAC between India and China.
They agreed that the current situation in India-China border areas was “not in the interest of either side” and hence the Indian Army and the Chinese PLA “should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tension”, according to a joint statement issued after the meeting.
Both the sides agreed that the immediate task was to ensure a comprehensive disengagement of troops in all the face-off points along the LAC, which was necessary to prevent any untoward incident.
The final disposition of the troop deployment to their permanent posts and the phasing of the process would be worked out by the military commanders, sources in New Delhi said.
The ministers agreed that both sides “should take guidance from the series of consensus” reached between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chinese President Xi Jinping “on developing India-China relations, including not allowing differences to become disputes”, according to the joint statement.
The leaders concurred that both the nations should abide by all the existing agreements and protocol on China-India boundary affairs, maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas and avoid any action that could escalate matters.
India and China will continue to have dialogue and communication through the Special Representatives mandated to represent the two governments in the bilateral negotiations to settle the boundary dispute.
They also agreed that the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs (WMCC) should also continue its meetings.
A statement released by the Chinese Government quoted Wang telling Jaishankar during the meeting that Beijing was “willing to support enhanced dialogue between the frontier troops” of China and India to “resolve specific issues” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border between the two nations. China would “stay in touch” with India “through diplomatic and military channels” and remain “committed to restoring peace and tranquillity in border areas”.