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india | IST

India, China agree on five steps to ease border tensions

Mini

External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar met his counterpart Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi for over two and a half hours in Moscow.

More than four months into the border standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India and China have agreed on five steps to guide approach to the current situation at the border.
External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar met his counterpart Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi for over two and a half hours in Moscow on the sidelines of the SCO foreign ministers' meeting. "The immediate task is to ensure a comprehensive disengagement of troops in all the friction areas. That is necessary to prevent any untoward incident in the future. The final disposition of the troop deployment to their permanent posts and the phasing of the process is to be worked out by the military commanders," said a source privy to the meeting between the two leaders.
This first breakthrough came after tensions peaked on September 7 in South Pangong, when shots were fired at the Line of Actual Control for the first time in 45 years. Chinese soldiers fired shots in the air to intimidate Indian troops. Chinese PLA has deployed close to fifty thousand troops in eastern Ladakh. Indian Army has taken several preemptive steps and is dominating all heights in South Pangong and has occupied the ridgeline at Finger 4 in North Pangong.
What are the five steps that have been agreed upon?
  • Both sides should take guidance from the series of consensus of the leaders on developing India-China relations, including not allowing differences to become disputes.
  • The current situation in the border areas is not in the interest of either side. Border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions.
  • Both sides shall abide by all the existing agreements on boundary affairs, maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas and avoid any action that could escalate matters.
  • Continue dialogue through Special Representative mechanism on the India-China boundary question. Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs (WMCC), should also continue its meetings.
  • The ministers agreed that as the situation eases, the two sides should expedite work to conclude new confidence-building measures to maintain peace in the border areas.
  • According to sources, Jaishankar emphasized during the meeting that India and China ties had been on a largely positive trajectory since 1976 and China's moves towards amassing troops and weapons was in complete violation of the 1993 and 1996 boundary agreements. "The Indian side clearly conveyed that it expected full adherence to all agreements on the management of border areas and would not countenance any attempt to change the status quo unilaterally. It was also emphasized that the Indian troops had scrupulously followed all agreements and protocols pertaining to the management of the border areas," he said. ​
    The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that it is willing to support enhanced dialogue between frontier troops to resolve specific issues. "Wang outlined China's stern position on the situation in border areas, emphasizing that the imperative is to immediately stop provocations such as firing and other dangerous actions that violate commitments made by the two sides. It is also important to move back all personnel and equipment that have trespassed. The frontier troops must quickly disengage so that the situation may deescalate," said the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
    China's Foreign Office also said that a five-point consensus regarding the current border situation has been agreed upon.