India and China on Friday held talks between their foreign ministries and agreed to follow a consensus that differences should be handled peacefully and should not become disputes, in the highest-level diplomatic engagement since tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) erupted in early May.
Both sides agreed “to handle their differences through peaceful discussion bearing in mind the importance of respecting each other's sensitivities, concerns and aspirations and not allow them to become disputes,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
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The MEA said the two sides “reviewed the state of bilateral relations including the current developments”. Military level talks will be held by two Lieutenant Generals on Saturday with the hope of defusing the border tensions, with stand-off situations and heavy deployments reported in at least four spots on the LAC.
On Friday, Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs Naveen Srivastava held a video conference with Wu Jianghao, who is Director General of the Asia Department at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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The MEA said both sides noted the “consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, that peaceful, stable and balanced relations between India and China will be a positive factor for stability in the current global situation.” Both also exchanged views on the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and cooperation in multilateral forums, the statement said.
A readout issued by China’s MFA said both agreed to “implement the consensus that two countries do not constitute a threat to each other” and “do not let differences rise into disputes”. It also called for enhancing strategic mutual trust and properly managing differences. Both sides discussed planned initiatives to mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations and ensure the relationship would be steered in the right direction, the statement said.
The Chinese statement mentioned “the two countries should oppose politicising the epidemic situation” and “support the World Health Organization”. This was not mentioned in the MEA’s readout. The Chinese readout also said both sides “will resolutely safeguard and promote multilateralism, oppose unilateralism, protectionism and hegemonism, jointly safeguard international fairness and justice, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries.”