Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar met Chinese FM Wang Yi on the sidelines of SCO Summit in Dushanbe. (Photo: Twitter @DrSJaishankar)

Troop disengagement essential for better ties, India tells China

NEW DELHI: India has told China that disengagement of troops of both the countries along the border in eastern Ladakh was essential for restoration of peace and tranquility which in turn will be the basis for development of bilateral ties.

Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar relayed the message to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Thursday on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet in Tajikistan.

There was an exchange of views on the developments in Afghanistan as well, according to two people familiar with the matter.

“Met Chinese FM Wang Yi on the sidelines of SCO Summit in Dushanbe. Discussed disengagement in our border areas. Underlined that progress in this regard is essential for restoration of peace and tranquility, which is the basis for development of bilateral ties,” Jaishankar said in a Twitter post after the meeting with Wang.

Jaishankar also said that India does not subscribe to any clash of civilisations theory. “Also exchanged views on global developments. Emphasized that India does not subscribe to any clash of civilisations theory. It is also essential that China does not view its relations with India through the lens of a third country,” he said in a second Twitter post

“As for Asian solidarity, it is for China and India to set an example,” the Indian minister added in a third post.

A PTI report from Beijing said China on Friday agreed with Jaishankar’s comments that Beijing should not view its ties with India through the lens of a third country, saying that Sino-India relations have their own “intrinsic logic.”

“China and India are both important Asian countries. For the two countries to develop relations there is an inherent necessary logic. China-India relations never target any third party,” Zhao Lijian, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying.

The border standoff between India and China erupted in May last year, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area. Both countries boosted their deployments, rushing inoldiers and heavy weaponry. After many rounds of military and diplomatic talks, the two countries have completed disengagement of troops in two areas Gogra last month and in Pangoing Tso in February. Pull back of troops from a third area – Hot Springs – is yet to happen. Each side currently has about 50,000-60,000 troops still deployed in the region.

An Indian foreign ministry statement after the talks said Jaishankar had conveyed to his Chinese counterpart that after their last meeting on 14 July also on the sidelines of an SCO meeting in Tajikistan, the two countries had made “some progress” but “there were still some outstanding issues that needed to be resolved.”

In this context Jaishankar “recalled that Foreign Minister Wang Yi had in their last meeting noted that the bilateral relations were at low ebb. Both sides had agreed that a prolongation of the existing situation was not in the interest of the either side as it was impacting the relationship in a negative manner,” the Indian statement said.

Jaishankar “underlined that it was necessary to ensure progress in resolution of remaining issues so as to restore peace and tranquility along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh noting that peace and tranquility in the border areas has been an essential basis for progress in the bilateral relations,” the Indian statement said.

“In this regard, the Ministers agreed that military and diplomatic officials of the two sides should meet again and continue their discussions to resolve the remaining issues at the earliest,” it said.

According to a statement by the Chinese foreign ministry, Wang noted that the recent communication between the two sides through the foreign and military departments was “earnest and effective,” and the overall border situation was “gradually de-escalated.” (sic)

The Chinese Foreign Minister hoped that “India will meet China halfway to move the situation towards stability and shift it from urgent dispute settlement to regular management and control.”

“Both sides need to consolidate the disengagement results of the front-line troops, and strictly abide by the protocols and agreements and the consensus reached between the two countries, to jointly safeguard the peace and tranquility of the border area and prevent the recurrence of border-related issues,” Wang was quoted as saying.

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