New Delhi: India on Thursday said it has not conceded any territory under the disengagement agreement with China and asserted that it has rather enforced observance of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to prevent any unilateral change in the status quo.
In a significant development, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and discussed the implementation of their “Moscow Agreement” on the border standoff in eastern Ladakh, besides reviewing the status of disengagement.
At an online media briefing, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said there has not been any change in India’s position on the LAC and the mutual redeployment as a result of the disengagement process should not be misrepresented.
Asked about the recent agreement on the de-escalation process in Ladakh’s Pangong lake area, he said the factual position has been very well conveyed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Parliament and in a defence ministry statement on February 12, which he said was aimed at setting the record straight in view of certain misleading and misinformed comments that appeared in the media.
“…India has not conceded any territory as a result of this agreement. On the contrary, it has enforced observance and respect for LAC and prevented any unilateral change in the status quo,” Srivastava said.
Later, Jaishankar tweeted, saying, “Spoke to State Councilor & Foreign Minister Wang Yi this afternoon. Discussed the implementation of our Moscow Agreement and reviewed the status of disengagement.”
A five-point agreement was arrived at between Jaishankar and Wang at a meeting in Moscow last September on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) conclave.
The pact included measures like a quick disengagement of troops, avoiding actions that could escalate tension, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the LAC.
Responding to a number of questions on the status of disengagement with China, Srivastava said the 10th round of the senior commanders’ meeting was held on February 20 and as agreed earlier by the two sides, the meeting was convened within 48 hours of the completion of disengagement in the north and south banks of Pangong Tso.
Referring to the meeting, he said the two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on the remaining issues along the LAC in the western sector.
“Both sides view the smooth and successful completion of disengagement in the north and south banks as a significant first step as this forms a basis for the resolution of the remaining issues so as to achieve the eventual goal of complete disengagement in all friction areas,” Srivastava said.
The two sides have agreed to work towards a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues, he added.
Last week, the armies of the two countries concluded withdrawal of troops and weapons from the north and south banks of Pangong Tso in the high-altitude region.
However, issues still remain. In the talks held on Saturday, which continued till the wee hours of Sunday, India is learnt to have insisted on a faster disengagement process in areas such as Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang to defuse tension in the region.