NEW DELHI: A five-point mechanism to resolve the ongoing tension between India and China in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control became the talking point on Friday, with analysts seeing it as the first important step in the right direction, as it gives political guidance for disengagement.
The mechanism was arrived at during a bilateral meeting between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on Thursday on the sidelines of the SCO foreign ministers’ meeting.
In a joint statement issued early on Friday, the two leaders said that they should not allow differences to become disputes.
“The two Foreign Ministers agreed that the current situation in the border areas is not in the interest of either side. They agreed therefore that the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions,” the statement added.
“Indian partners expressed commitment to cooperation and dialogue for deescalating tensions. We are ready to take conciliatory steps. The most important thing is to avoid new violations of the obligations on the border. Troops and equipment should be withdrawn from the LAC,” Wang Yi said at a joint press conference with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov a day after his meeting with Jaishankar.
“Both reiterating that channels of communication will remain open and that soon the SR level meeting will take place, demonstrates that there is a silver lining as regards solving the standoffs through diplomacy. This ultimately may pave way for another Modi-Xi meeting that could be a face saver to both the sides,” said B R Deepak, Sinologist and Chairperson of the Centre for Chinese and South Asian Studies at JNU.
Sources said during the meeting, Jaishankar highlighted India’s strong concerns at the amassing of Chinese troops with equipment along the LAC.
The conciliatory tone seems to have trickled to the ground with sources saying both sides have exercised restraint on the LAC and there has been no aggressive action for the past 24 hours.
Both sides agreed to avoid any action that could escalate matters: Statement
According to the statement, both sides agreed to abide by all agreements and protocols on India-China border affairs and avoid any action that could escalate matters.
“The Ministers agreed that as the situation eases, the two sides should expedite work to conclude new Confidence Building Measures to maintain and enhance peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, sources said Jaishankar during the meeting noted that India-China relations since 1981 have developed on a positive trajectory and these developments have given it a substantive character.
“While India recognised that a solution to the boundary question required time and effort, it was also clear that the maintenance of peace and tranquility on the border areas was essential to the forward development of ties.
The recent incidents in eastern Ladakh, however, inevitably impacted the development of the bilateral relationship. Therefore, an urgent resolution of the current situation was in the interest of both nations,” sources said.
Meanwhile, the Chinese statement said Wang told Jaishanakar that it was important to move back all personnel and equipment that have trespassed and it was imperative to stop provocations that violate commitments.
Beijing called for a quick disengagement of frontier troops.
“What China and India need right now is cooperation, not confrontation; and mutual trust, not suspicion. Whenever the situation gets difficult, it is all the more important to ensure the stability of the overall relationship and preserve mutual trust.”