India-China border stand-off: Two countries emphasize on not allowing differences to become disputes

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Published: July 7, 2020 12:50 PM

In its statement Monday, the Ministry of External Affairs said Doval and Wang “agreed” that both sides “should complete the ongoing disengagement process along the LAC expeditiously”.

India-China border stand-offNational Security Advisor Ajit Doval (pictured) and Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday spoke to each other on Sunday. (Photo: The Indian Express)

In a further sign of improvement in resolving border standoff between India and China, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday spoke to each other on Sunday. They both “agreed” that it was “necessary to ensure complete disengagement of troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at the earliest” and “de-escalation from border areas for full restoration of peace and tranquility,” The Indian Express reported.

Doval and Wang had earlier met in 2018 and 2019; both are special representatives of their respective countries for the boundary talks. India opted for the NSA-led special representative mechanism to resolve the issue because it felt Wang needed to be reached out at a higher level than before, from the Chinese perspective.

India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Wang spoke to each other on June 17, two days after the Galwan Valley clash between Indian and Chinese troops, in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed.

The Ministry of External Affairs, in its statement Monday said, Doval and Wang agreed that both countries “should complete the ongoing disengagement process along the LAC expeditiously”.

The MEA statement emphasized that both countries “should ensure a phased and stepwise de-escalation”. The statement said, Doval and Wang “re-affirmed that both countries should strictly respect and observe the LAC” and “should not take any unilateral action to alter the status quo” and “work together to avoid any incident in the future that could disturb peace and tranquility in border areas.”

The Chinese foreign ministry also “welcomed the progress”. The Indian Express reported citing the statement from China’s foreign ministry that the Chinese side agreed to continue dialogue and consultation and “complete disengagement of the front-line troops as soon as possible”.

Regarding the Galwan Valley incident, the statement from China’s foreign ministry, as reported by The Indian Express, said, “The right and wrong of what recently happened at the Galwan Valley in the western sector of the China-India boundary is very clear. China will continue firmly safeguarding our territorial sovereignty as well as peace and tranquility in the border areas.” However, in the statement, China did not repeat its claim of sovereignty over the Galwan Valley. The statement from the Indian government did not counter this part of the Chinese statement.

The Indian Express reported the Chinese Foreign Ministry in its statement said both countries “agreed” to improve and strengthen communication via the special representative mechanism, hold meetings of the working mechanism for consultation on border issues, work to improve confidence-building measures and “prevent more incidents that undermine peace and tranquility in the border areas”.

The statement from India’s ministry of external affairs also said they “agreed” that the two “special representatives will continue their conversations” in order to “ensure full and enduring restoration of peace and tranquillity” in the India-China border areas in accordance with the bilateral agreements and protocols, the report added; which hints towards more meetings between Doval and Wang in the coming days.

Both statements issued on Monday, from India as well as from the Chinese side, had emphasized not to allow differences to become disputes. “Our bilateral relations have withstood tests and made hard-won progress,” the Chinese statement said.

“For both China and India, achieving development and revitalisation is the top priority where we share long-term strategic interests. Both sides should adhere to the strategic assessment that instead of posing threats, the two countries provide each other with development opportunities,” the Chinese statement added.

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