NEW DELHI: India and China on Wednesday held diplomatic talks and agreed to maintain communication to resolve the existing situation peacefully even as the Chinese defence ministry and foreign ministry continued to blame India for the June 15 violent face-off and reiterated their claim to the Galwan Valley area.
Also, Chinese defence ministry spokesperson Wu Qian’s claim that the defence ministers of both sides were in communication over phone after the June 15 incident, was rubbished by India. “No conversation took place between the two ministers,” highly placed sources in the ministry of defence said. At the 15th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs, the Indian side was represented by Joint Secretary (East Asia) Naveen Srivastava while the Chinese delegation was led by the director general of the department of boundary and oceanic affairs of the Chinese foreign ministry.
“The two sides discussed in detail the developments in the India-China border areas, in particular the situation in Eastern Ladakh. The Indian side conveyed its concerns on the recent developments in Eastern Ladakh, including on the violent face-off in Galwan Valley area on 15th June that had resulted in casualties. In this regard, it was emphasised that both sides should strictly respect and observe the Line of Actual Control (LAC),” a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said.
According to the MEA, the two sides reaffirmed that they should sincerely implement the understanding of disengagement and de-escalation that was reached between senior commanders on June 6. “The two delegations agreed that implementation of this understanding expeditiously, in accordance with the bilateral agreements and protocols, would help ensure peace and tranquillity in border areas and the development of broader relationship between the two countries. Earlier in the day, the Chinese defence ministry demanded that Indian troops to be withdrawn from Galwan Valley and accused Indian diplomats and media personnel of spreading ‘large amounts of fake news’. Its foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused the Indian side of going against the bilateral pact.
China reiterates Galwan claim, accuses India of crossing line
“The Indian side at first agreed to withdraw personnel from Galwan Valley and so it did, and it dismantled its facilities as requested by the Chinese side. During the first commander-level meeting on June 6, the Indian side committed to no trespassing in Galwan Valley for patrolling and building.
The two sides agreed to set up observatory posts at the two sides of the Galwan river estuary, but the Indian side went against this agreement and asked China to dismantle China’s posts and also it crossed the LAC,” he said. Wu Qian claimed that China had sovereignty over the Galwan Valley and that Chinese troops had been patrolling the area.
“Since April this year, the Indian forces have built facilities in the region, and China has repeatedly made representations and protests on this. In the early hours of May 6, the Indian border guards crossed the line and entered the Chinese territory... attempted to unilaterally change the status of border control. The Chinese border defence force had to take necessary measures to strengthen onsite response and control of the border area,” he said. Quian also blamed India for openly violating the June 6 consensus on June 15 and provoking China. “Chinese officers and soldiers were suddenly violently attacked. This triggered physical clashes resulting in casualties,” he said.
No contact between def ministers
Chinese defence ministry spokesperson Wu Qian’s claim that the defence ministers of both sides were in communication over phone after the June 15 incident, was rubbished by India