New Delhi: India and China should quickly resolve the Line of Actual Control (LAC) issue and disengage from the remaining friction points to allow de-escalation of forces, providing conditions for “progress” in bilateral ties, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Friday.
The statement comes after last month’s phone call between External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi wherein both laid down a roadmap for further easing of tensions in eastern Ladakh following the successful conclusion of the disengagement process in the Pangong Lake area.
“There is a consensus that the two sides should now quickly resolve the remaining issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. The disengagement in Pangong Lake area was a significant step forward and it has provided a good basis for resolution of other remaining issues along the LAC in Western Sector,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a press briefing.
Bagchi said both sides continue to remain in touch through military and diplomatic channels.
“As EAM had pointed out to Chinese Foreign Minister, a prolongation of the situation is in neither side’s interest. We therefore hope that the Chinese side will work with us to ensure that disengagement in the remaining areas is completed at the earliest,” he said.
“This would allow both sides to consider de-escalation of forces in eastern Ladakh as that alone will lead to the restoration of peace and tranquility and provide conditions for progress of our bilateral relationship,” Bagchi added.
Developments over last few weeks
New Delhi and Beijing held diplomatic talks under the framework of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) on 12 March, where it was agreed that both sides will convene the 11th round of the Senior Commanders meeting at an early date so that they could work towards complete disengagement from the remaining friction areas.
The roadmap that India and China have made the basis of their talks for disengagement has been referred to as ‘Moscow Agreement’, with the two nations agreeing to a set of confidence-building measures once the standoff is entirely diffused.
During the March visit of US Secretary of State Lloyd Austin to India, New Delhi and Washington discussed the LAC issue and the process of disengagement.
India had also participated in the first ever Quadrilateral Summit with the US, Japan and Australia on 12 March while the disengagement process in Pangong Lake was underway.