The India-China dispute over intrusions and where the Line of Actual Control (LAC) lies hung in the balance on Thursday but New Delhi said Major-Generals from the two countries were in “regular touch” to try and resolve the issues.
The two countries were looking at holding talks between senior officials under what is called the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC)—a process set up in 2012—external affairs ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said.
“The two sides are in regular touch through their embassies and foreign offices. At the ground level, the two sides have maintained communication at the commander’s level. Meetings of the other established diplomatic mechanisms such as WMCC are under discussion,” Srivastava said.
His comments came on a day major general-level officers from India and China met for a third consecutive day at Galwan, the valley in Ladakh that saw a violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops on Monday.
On Wednesday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke on the phone and discussed the situation in Eastern Ladakh in the aftermath of a “violent face-off” that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead and several injured in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. Both sides agreed to “deal fairly” , jointly abide by the consensus reached at the military-level meetings between the two sides, cool down the situation on the ground as soon as possible, and maintain peace and tranquility in the border area in accordance with the agreement reached so far between the two countries.
During the telephonic conversation, Jaishankar conveyed to Wang India’s protest in the strongest terms on the violent face-off and said the unprecedented development will have “serious impact” on bilateral ties.He asked the Chinese side to reassess its actions and take corrective steps.
“The Chinese side took pre-meditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties. It reflected an intent to change the facts on ground in violation of all our agreements to not change the status quo,” he told Wang.
Wang said the two sides should follow the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and strengthen the communication and coordination on the proper handling of the border situation through the existing channels so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border area, according to the statement.
- The foreign ministers of China and India have held telephone talks over the deadly border clash, agreeing to “cool down” the tensions.
- India’s PM Narendra Modi says the sacrifice of soldiers killed in Ladakh by China’s army “will not go in vain”.
- India says the “violent face-off” is an attempt by China to “unilaterally change the status quo” on the Galwan Valley frontier in Indian-administered Ladakh.
- Beijing, in turn, accuses the Indian army of “provoking and attacking Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical confrontation”.
The Chinese foreign minister emphasized that both China and India are emerging forces with a population of more than one billion people, and accelerating their own development and revitalization is our respective historical mission. For this reason, mutual respect and mutual support is the right way of the two sides, which is in the long-term interests of the two countries; mutual suspicion and mutual friction are evil roads, contrary to the fundamental aspirations of the two peoples.
The two sides should follow the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and strengthen the communication and coordination on the proper handling of the border situation through the existing channels such as the meeting mechanism between the special representatives of the Sino-Indian border and the meeting mechanism of the border defense force, so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border area.
On Tuesday the Chinese military alleged that the Indian troops again crossed the Line of Actual Control in the Galwan Valley region and “purposefully launched provocative attacks”, leading to “severe clashes and casualties.” He said this “dangerous act of the Indian army seriously violated the agreement reached between the two countries on the border issue and seriously violated the basic norms of international relations.”
Wang demanded the Indian side to conduct a “thorough investigation” on this, “severely punish those responsible” for the incident, “strictly control the front-line troops”, and “immediately stop all provocative actions” to ensure that such incidents cannot occur again. “The Indian side must not misjudge the current situation, and must not underestimate China’s firm will to safeguard the territorial sovereignty,” he added.
The state-run Global Times newspaper quoted the People’s Liberation Army Western Theatre Command spokesperson as saying that “Indian troops again crossed the line of actual control in the Galwan Valley region and purposefully launched provocative attacks, leading to severe clashes and casualties.” It did not elaborate.