New Delhi: Amid continued military tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), External Affairs minister S. Jaishankar Thursday raised the “abnormal” state of affairs in eastern Ladakh in his first meeting with his new Chinese counterpart Qin Gang on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting here.
In the meeting that lasted for nearly 45 minutes, tensions along the India-China border formed the bulk of the conversation. However, as ThePrint reported Wednesday, the meeting did not amount to a decisive outcome in terms of a resolution or the way ahead.
It is expected that India and China will hold their next round of Corps Commander-level talks later this month.
Addressing the media after the meeting, Jaishankar said the discussion with his Chinese counterpart, who succeeded Wang Yi in December last year, was candid. “Our talks were about the current state of our relationship which many of you heard me describe as ‘abnormal’, those were among adjectives that I used in the meeting,” he said.
“There are real problems that need to be discussed openly and candidly and that is what we did today,” Jaishankar told reporters. The minister said the two also discussed the G20 deliberations — India holds the presidency of the G20 till 30 November 30 of this year.
He, however, added, “The thrust of our talks was on challenges in the bilateral relationship and the peace and tranquility at the LAC.”
The meeting came days after India and China discussed proposals for disengagement at remaining flashpoints in eastern Ladakh during the first physical meeting of the Working Mechanisation for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border Affairs since 2019.
While militaries of both countries have disengaged from the northern and southern banks of the Pangong Tso, Gogra and the Hot Springs area since the stand-off began in May 2020, issues of de-escalation and of Depsang Plains and Demchok remain. Both sides have failed to make any headway with regard to Depsang and Demchok, where tensions predate the ongoing stand-off. Also, though troops have disengaged at several locations along the LAC, they continue to remain deployed in forward areas, along with their armoured and artillery equipment.
India has been calling for de-escalation, which would entail the return of all additional troops and equipment in forward areas to their pre-April 2020 positions.
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)
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