India, China hint at peace along LAC

Photo: The Defence.Capital Magazine cover of May 2020 edition.

New Delhi: India and China are actively engaged through diplomatic and military channels to peacefully resolve the ongoing dispute along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, the two sides have said in a sort of relief to the global community.

The border tension, with a potential for a military flare-up between the two countries, was being watched keenly by the world powers, as each tried to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant economic impact.

Reflecting the government’s sense of urgency in resolving the situation peacefully and strictly through the bilateral arrangement, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said today: “The two sides are maintaining their military and diplomatic engagements to peacefully resolve the situation at the earliest as also to ensure peace and tranquility in the border areas. This is essential for the further development of India and China bilateral relations.”

India’s response came a day after Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying said both sides had reached a consensus and were taking actions to ease the situation.

Though sections of the Indian media reported a de-escalation of the border situation had started following the June 6 and June 10 meetings between the top commanders of the Indian and Chinese armies in Chushul-Muldu region along the LAC, the official response to the effect from both the sides has come over the past 24 hours.

“At the June 6 meeting, it was agreed that an early resolution of the situation would be in keeping with the guidance of our leaders,” said Srivastava.

Significantly, the two armies had been engaged along the LAC in eastern Ladakh for over a month with the troops coming to blows in Pangong Tso area early May. The border stand-off had prompted US President Donald J. Trump to offer mediation, but the two sides decided to work it out between themselves.

China has pushed thousands of its People’s Liberation Army troopers to the LAC and pitched tents and permanent structure there. China has blamed India of increased border infrastructure and defence structures building along the LAC.

India has maintained that its infrastructure and border defence structure constructions have happened well within its side of the LAC.

Though the two sides appeared to be on the same page in resolving the ongoing border dispute, tangible signs of a status quo ante, particularly in the Galwan area, are still awaited by the Indian side.

That, perhaps, would call for a continued engagement to resolve the situation in the spirit of the five existing agreements India and China have signed since 1993 to resolve the border disputes.

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