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Jaishankar pushes for ‘complete disengagement’ at LAC in Bali meeting with Wang Yi

The external affairs minister met the Chinese state councilor & foreign minister on the sidelines of the ongoing G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in the Indonesian city.

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New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar pushed Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi for a “complete disengagement” of military forces on both sides of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) Thursday. The two countries have been engaged in a military standoff in eastern Ladakh for over two years now.

The two ministers met for an hour on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which is taking place in Bali, Indonesia. This was one of the first bilateral engagements of the External Affairs Minister after arriving in Bali.

“Began my day in Bali by meeting FM Wang Yi of China. Discussion lasted one hour. Focused on specific outstanding issues in our bilateral relationship pertaining to the border situation. Also spoke about other matters including students and flights,” Jaishankar said in a tweet.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also issued a statement on the meeting, stating “EAM called for an early resolution of all the outstanding issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. Recalling the disengagement achieved in some friction areas, EAM reiterated the need to sustain the momentum to complete disengagement from all the remaining areas to restore peace and tranquility in the border areas.”

The MEA also said Jaishankar put particular focus on the “importance of fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols, and the understandings reached between the two Ministers during their previous conversations”.

Both sides agreed to continue the military, as well as diplomatic level talks, to resolve the matter. The standoff which began in 2020, is yet to be completely resolved.

The last diplomatic level talks under the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on China-India Border Affairs (WMCC) took place on 31 May, 2022.

Issues concerning the return of Indian students to China were also discussed and resumption of direct flights.


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‘Mutual respect, mutual sensitivity & mutual interests’

“EAM reiterated that India-China relationship is best served by observing the three mutuals — mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests,” the MEA said.

The statement added: “EAM recalled his meeting with Wang Yi in Delhi in March 2022 and reviewed the progress of some key issues discussed then, including the return of students. EAM stressed the need for expediting the process and facilitating the return of students on an early date.”

During the visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister to India in March this year both sides had reached an “understanding” on resolving the border dispute, even as Beijing insisted on returning to normalcy on other aspects of the bilateral relationship.

The visit is believed to have resulted in some thawing of ties and it was visible last month, when Jaishankar said at an event in Europe that the Russia-Ukraine war will have no impact on bilateral ties between New Delhi and Beijing, and that both are capable of managing their relationship without any external interference.

Eventually, China lauded the statement, the outcome of which was evidenced by a meeting between Wang Yi and India’s Ambassador to China Pradeep Kumar Rawat, last month.

The Chinese minister had said at that time the way Jaishankar “expressed his disapproval of European centralism” and “objected to external forces meddling” in China-India bilateral ties, is a reflection of “India’s tradition of independence”.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)


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