Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe that attempts by Chinese troops to unilaterally alter the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) were in violation of the bilateral agreements and Beijing should work with New Delhi for complete disengagement from all friction areas including Pangong Tso.
Rajnath made these remarks during their meeting in Moscow yesterday, which lasted for two hours and 20 minutes.
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According to an official statement, the two ministers had frank and in-depth discussions about the developments in the India-China border areas as well as on India-China relations. During the meeting, the Defence Minister categorically conveyed India’s position on the developments along the LAC, including in the Galwan valley in the Western sector of the India-China Border Areas in the last few months.
“The Defence Minister emphasised that the actions of the Chinese troops, including amassing of large number of troops, their aggressive behaviour and attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo were in violation of the bilateral agreements,” the statement said.
He stated clearly that while the Indian troops had always taken a very responsible approach towards border management, but at the same time there should also be “no doubt about our determination to protect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
“The Defence Minister advised that it was important therefore that Chinese side should work with the Indian side for complete disengagement at the earliest from all friction areas including Pangong Lake as well as de-escalation in border areas in accordance with the bilateral agreements and protocols,” the statement said.
Both sides, according to Rajnath, should take guidance from the consensus of the leaders that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas was essential for the further development of bilateral relations, and the two countries should not allow differences to become disputes.
He conveyed that the two sides should continue their discussions, including through diplomatic and military channels, to ensure complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquillity along the LAC at the earliest, the statement added.
India recently outflanked China by taking control of strategic height near Pangong lake’s southern bank. It thwarted an attempt by the Chinese army to transgress into Indian areas near the southern bank of Pangong Tso near Chushul in Ladakh.
India and China are engaged in a standoff since April-May over the transgressions by the Chinese Army in multiple areas including Finger area, Galwan valley, Hot springs and Kongrung Nala. The situation worsened after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in violent clashes with Chinese troops in Galwan valley in June.
The talks between the two sides have been going on for the last three months including five Lieutenant general-level talks but have failed to yield any results, so far.