New Delhi: Noting the completion of disengagement in the Pangong Lake area, the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has told his Chinese counterpart that both sides should now quickly resolve remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

According to a statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday (February 26, 2021), S Jaishankar and State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi, discussed the situation along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh and also issues related to the overall India-China relations.

Jaishankar emphasized that once the disengagement is completed at all friction points, then the two sides could also look at broader de-escalation of troops in the area and work towards the restoration of peace and tranquillity.

During the 75-minute phone conversation, EAM Jaishankar referred to the meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister in September 2020 in Moscow where India had expressed its concern on provocative behavior and unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter the status quo. 
He also noted that the bilateral relations have been impacted severely over last year and said that the Boundary Question may take time to resolve but the disturbance of peace and tranquillity including by violence, will inevitably have a damaging impact on the relationship.

EAM Jaishankar said that during their meeting in Moscow in 2020, both Ministers had agreed that the situation in the border areas was not in the interest of either side and decided that the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage and ease tensions. EAM said that the two sides had maintained continuous communication since then through both the diplomatic and military channels and that had led to progress as both sides had successfully disengaged in the Pangong Tso Lake area earlier this month.

Jaishankar also highlighted that both sides had always agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in border areas was an essential basis for the development of bilateral relations and a prolongation of the existing situation was not in the interest of either side. 

It was, therefore, necessary that the two sides should work towards early resolution of remaining issues and was necessary to disengage at all friction points in order to contemplate de-escalation of forces in this sector, that alone will lead to the restoration of peace and tranquillity and provide conditions for the progress of India-China relationship.

According to MEA, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on his part, expressed satisfaction at the progress made so far. 

“It was an important step forward for restoration of peace and tranquility in border areas. He felt that both sides should make efforts to consolidate outcomes. It was also necessary to sincerely implement the common understanding reached at various levels. He spoke about the need to improve management and control in the border areas,” the MEA stated.

Wang Yi also noted that the Indian side had proposed ‘three mutuals’ (mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests) as the approach to the relationship and agreed on the importance of taking the long view of India-China ties. 

“The two Ministers agreed to remain in touch and establish a hotline,” informed the MEA.

This is to be noted that last week, the armies of the two countries which have been locked in a standoff in eastern Ladakh since May 2020, concluded the withdrawal of troops and weapons from north and south banks of Pangong Tso in the high-altitude region. 

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