In the first visit by a top Indian official to China in more than three years, the two countries have discussed proposals for disengaging in the two remaining friction areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to create conditions to “restore normalcy” in relations.
Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Shilpak Ambule, on Wednesday held talks with top Chinese border officials and also met with Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying.
Mr. Ambule led the Indian delegation for the 26th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC), the first such talks held in-person since July 2019. The Chinese side was led by Hong Liang, Director General of the Boundary and Oceanic Affairs Department of the Foreign Ministry.
The MEA said both sides “reviewed the situation along the LAC” and “discussed proposals for disengagement in the remaining areas in an open and constructive manner, which would help in restoration of peace and tranquillity along the LAC in Western Sector and create conditions for restoration of normalcy in bilateral relations”.
A statement from the Chinese side said both sides “reviewed the positive progress” and outcomes of disengagement in Galwan Valley and four other friction areas, while exchanging views on the next stage of talks.
It said both sides “agreed to move forward on the basis of the consensus previously reached, accelerate the resolution of issues related to the western section of the Sino-Indian border, and reach a mutually acceptable solution at an early date”. The statement said both sides had discussed other measures to ease the situation in border areas and to return the border to normalised control.
To that end, both sides have also agreed to hold the 18th round of talks between senior military commanders at an early date, with the last round held on December 20, 2022.