China must 'sincerely work' on disengagement, maintenance of peace is basis of bilateral ties, says MEA
Foreign ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said a fresh round of bilateral diplomatic talks is likely to be held on Friday to push forward the disengagement process in eastern Ladakh
New Delhi: India on Thursday said it expected China to "sincerely work" with it for complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquility in their border areas, as a fresh round of bilateral diplomatic talks is likely to be held on Friday to push forward the disengagement process in eastern Ladakh.
At an online media briefing, Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava also asserted that the maintenance of peace and tranquility along the Line of Control (LAC) is the basis of India's bilateral ties with China.
He said another round of diplomatic talks under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) is expected to be scheduled soon.
People familiar with the developments said the diplomatic talks are likely to take place as early as Friday and its main focus would be to expedite the disengagement of troops from Pangong Tso and some other friction points in eastern Ladakh.
They said the disengagement process has not moved forward as expected following the last round of Corps Commander-level talks on July 14 which lasted for around 15 hours.
During a visit to eastern Ladakh last week, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said progress has been made in the ongoing talks with China to find a solution to the border standoff but he cannot guarantee to what extent it would be resolved.
"As we have stated earlier, the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas is the basis of our bilateral relationship," Srivastava said at the briefing.
"Therefore, it is our expectation that the Chinese side will sincerely work with us for complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas at the earliest as agreed to by the Special Representatives," he added.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a nearly two-hour-long telephonic conversation on July 5 to bring down tension between the armies of the two countries in eastern Ladakh.
Both sides commenced the disengagement process from 6 July following talks between Doval and Wang who are Special Representatives for the boundary question.
"We have also made it clear that India is fully committed to observing and respecting the LAC and that we will not accept any unilateral attempts to change the status quo along the LAC," said Srivastava.
He said the two sides have agreed during the conversation of the Special Representatives to work towards complete disengagement of the troops along the LAC and de-escalation from India-China border areas for full restoration of peace and tranquillity.
The MEA spokesperson said "respecting and strictly abiding" by the LAC is the basis of peace and tranquility in the border areas and that several agreements concluded by India and China since 1993 firmly acknowledge it.
He also recalled his statement of 26 June that the conduct of Chinese forces this year, including the deployment of a large body of troops and changes in behaviour, accompanied by "unjustified and untenable" claims, has been in complete disregard of all the mutual agreements.
"We have also made it clear that India is fully committed to observing and respecting the LAC and that we will not accept any unilateral attempts to change the status quo along the LAC," he said.
Srivastava said both sides are engaged in discussions through the established diplomatic and military channels to achieve the objective of full restoration of peace and tranquility expeditiously.
After the fourth round of Corps Commander-level talks, the Indian army said both sides are committed to "complete disengagement" of troops, adding the process is "intricate" and it requires "constant verification".
The people familiar with the ongoing developments said a fifth round of Corps Commander-level talks could take place depending on the outcome of the likely negotiations under the WMCC.
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The MEA spokesperson did not clarify further on the bridge, saying that he would not be able to address the issue from a military perspective and that the Ministry of Defence would be in a better position to address the implications
He emphasized that India is acting towards enhancing infrastructure and operational capabilities in order to respond to any emergent situation