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LAC standoff | Restoration of peace at border essential for ties, India tells China

In this file photo, an army truck moves towards LAC amid the India-China border dispute in eastern Ladakh. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

While China on Thursday asked India to keep in mind “the big picture” and put the border dispute in “an appropriate position”, New Delhi said only the full restoration of peace and tranquility on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) would enable the development of bilateral relations.

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The two separate statements underlined the difference in emphasis currently being placed by both sides on the slow-moving disengagement process along the LAC. In Beijing, Senior Colonel Wu Qian of the People’s Liberation Army, who is the spokesperson of the Ministry of Defence, said he “expected that India could work with China towards the same goal, bearing in mind the big picture of bilateral ties and putting the border issue in an appropriate position in this big picture, avoid misjudgment, keep divergences from escalating into disputes, and take concrete steps to bring the bilateral relations back to the right track of normal development.”

In Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) made clear that both sides needed to take “reciprocal actions” to restore peace. Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said “complete disengagement requires re-deployment of troops by each side towards their regular posts on their respective sides of the LAC”, adding that "it is important to bear in mind that achieving this requires agreed actions by both sides.”

He said both sides had at last week’s meeting of the working mechanism for consultation and coordination on border affairs “agreed to resolve the outstanding issues in an expeditious manner and in accordance with the existing agreements and protocols.”

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“Both sides also agree that full restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas would be essential for the overall development of bilateral relations,” he said. “The two sides had also agreed to continue their engagements both through diplomatic and military channels,” he added, quoting the recent remarks of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar that “finding a solution... must be predicated on honouring all agreements and understandings… and not attempting to alter the status quo unilaterally”.

In India’s view, complete disengagement and a full restoration of the status quo prior to May’s transgressions remains far off. Chinese troops still remain on India’s side of the LAC at Pangong lake and are disrupting Indian patrols in the Depsang plains, while a build-up of forces remains elsewhere along the LAC.

PLA Senior Colonel Wu said "progress has been made in disengaging the frontline troops of both sides”. "China and India have agreed to follow the important consensus reached by the leaders of both countries and other relevant agreements, continue to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels, further ease and cool down the China-India border situation, properly handle the remaining issues, and jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border area,” he said.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 7:25:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/restoration-of-peace-at-lac-essential-for-ties-india-tells-china/article32458538.ece

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