India, China expected to continue military and diplomatic talks — Govt.
New Delhi, Sep. 16 (PTI): India and China are expected to continue military and diplomatic talks to implement the agreement reached between their foreign ministers last week to restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas, the government said on Wednesday on the standoff in eastern Ladakh.
In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan gave a brief account of the four-month-long standoff and said the Chinese side attempted to transgress the Line of Actual (LAC) in several areas of the western sector since mid-May.
“These attempts were invariably met with an appropriate response from us,” he said.
Muraleedharan said senior commanders of the two sides on June 6 had agreed on a process for disengagement, and subsequently, ground commanders held a series of meetings to implement the consensus reached.
“However, the Chinese side departed from this consensus to respect the LAC and tried to unilaterally change the status quo, as a result of which a violent face-off happened in the late evening and night June 15,” he said referring to the Galwan Valley clashes.
“Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had the agreement at the Senior Commanders level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side,” the minister said.
Tension in eastern Ladakh increased manifold following the Galwan Valley clashes in which 20 Indian Army soldiers were killed. The Chinese side too suffered casualties, but it is yet to give out the details.
Muraleedharan mentioned subsequent military and diplomatic talks between the two sides. He also referred to the talks between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart Gen. Wei Fenghe in Moscow on September 4 on the sidelines of a meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
He also talked about the agreement reached between two countries following talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on September 10 in Moscow.
“Accordingly, it is expected that the two sides will continue to have meetings of military and diplomatic officials to implement the agreements reached between the two Foreign Ministers and ensure full restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” Muraleedharan said.
The agreement included measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the LAC.
In an address in Lok Sabha, Singh on Tuesday said the Chinese side has mobilised a large number of troops and armaments along the LAC as well as in the depth areas.
The situation eastern Ladakh deteriorated after China unsuccessfully attempted to occupy Indian territory in the southern bank of Pangong lake on the intervening night of August 29 and 30.
India occupied a number of strategic heights on the southern bank of Pangong lake and strengthened its presence in Finger 2 and Finger 3 areas in the region to thwart any Chinese actions.
India has also rushed in additional troops and weapons to the sensitive region following China’s transgression attempts.
Following China’s fresh attempts to change the status quo in the southern bank of Pangong lake, India has further bolstered its military presence in the region.
Replying to a separate question that whether MEA was aware of recent Chinese media reports that China supports Sikkim as an independent country.
Muraleedharan said: “We are not aware of any such recent reports of China. It is a well known fact that Sikkim is a state of India and is an integral and inalienable part of India.”