In his bilateral with the new Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) on Thursday in New Delhi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar brought attention to the “abnormal” state of affairs in eastern Ladakh amid continued military tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The meeting focused mainly on the tensions along the India-China border, though it did not result in a decisive outcome in terms of resolution or the way ahead. The next round of Corps Commander-level talks between the two nations is expected to take place later this month.
Briefing the media persons in New Delhi at the end of FMM and his bilateral with his Chinese counterpart, Jaishankar stated that the talk addressed the current state of India-China relations, which he had previously described as “abnormal”.
The two sides engaged in an open and candid discussion regarding the issues that need to be addressed. Although the G20 deliberations were also discussed, Jaishankar added that the main focus of the meeting was on the challenges in the bilateral relationship and the peace and tranquility at the LAC.
The talks according to Jaishankar were on the current state of relationship between India and China. Adding, “Which many of you heard me describe as ‘abnormal’, those were among adjectives that I used in the meeting…There are real problems that need to be discussed openly and candidly and that is what we did today.”
This meeting follows the discussion of proposals for disengagement at remaining flashpoints in eastern Ladakh between India and China during the first physical meeting since 2019 of the Working Mechanisation for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border Affairs. While both militaries have disengaged from the northern and southern banks of the Pangong Tso, Gogra, and the Hot Springs area since the stand-off began in May 2020, issues of de-escalation and of Depsang Plains and Demchok remain. The troops have disengaged at several locations along the LAC, but they continue to remain deployed in forward areas, along with their armoured and artillery equipment. India has been calling for de-escalation, which would involve the return of all additional troops and equipment in forward areas to their pre-April 2020 positions.