On July 14, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met with China’s State Councilor Wang Yi to discuss issues regarding the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Jaishankar stated that existing conflict in the eastern region of Ladakh has led to a negative impact on the bilateral ties.
The one-hour-long meeting was conducted around the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation conclave in Dushanbe. The External Minister asserted that changes in the status quo are not acceptable to India. He stated that the development in ties of both nations will be seen after peace and tranquillity have been restored in eastern Ladakh.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the two ministers will hold the next rounds of military talks and arrive at a solution at the earliest.
The meeting took place amid the disengagement process of both troops after they withdrew weapons from the Pangong Lake areas in February, following a series of military standoffs in the eastern region of Ladakh.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated that both the parties had agreed that the prolonged situation alongside the region of eastern Ladakh was negatively impacting the diplomatic relations between the two nations – India and China.
Jaishankar said that the maintenance of peace and tranquillity has been an impetus to set up diplomatic ties between the nations since 1988.
He stated that the standoffs had disregarded the commitments provided in 1993 and 1996. Hence, he stated that it will be in the mutual interest of both parties to reach a solution that aligns with the bilateral agreements and protocols and also resolve the issues alongside the Line of Actual Control (LAC) near Eastern Ladakh.
Last year, in September, both the ministers, Jaishankar and Wang, held talks on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Moscow conclave.
During the conclave, the ministers reached a five-point agreement to resolve the dispute surrounding the border.
The pact had significant rules such as avoiding certain actions which could escalate the tensions between the parties, disengagement of the troops near the eastern Ladakh area, and parties would make sure all agreements and protocols set under the five-point and previous bilateral agreement are being followed, active steps to restore peace in the area along the Line of Actual Control.
Jaishankar stressed the need to follow the guidelines mentioned in the agreement to solve the issues surrounding the LAC. He noted that the disengagement early this year, in the Pangong Lake Area, was a successful step to resolve issues.
Following the protocols, the military at both sides had pulled away from its troops from the region alongside the tanks and artillery in February alongside the Pangong Lake as a first major step towards disengagement. However, he did say that the situation surrounding the remaining areas remains untouched.
On his Twitter profile, External Minister Jaishankar reiterated that the discussion with Chinese officials is focused on the issues alongside the eastern regions of Ladakh and the ministers are in the way of talks to work and restore peace near the border areas.
Concluded a one-hour bilateral meeting with State Councilor and FM Wang Yi of China on the sidelines of Dushanbe SCO Foreign Ministers Meeting.
Discussions focused on the outstanding issues along the LAC in the Western Sector. pic.twitter.com/YWJWatUErI
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) July 14, 2021
He emphasized that such changes can be a measure to increase diplomatic relations with the neighbouring nation. However, the unilateral change of the status quo is not justifiable to the Indian Ministry.
Since April 2020, the soldiers of India and China had been in a face-off along the de-facto border on the Line of Actual Control, these actions raised questions and fear of border conflict between the two nations.
It was reported that the central government had deployed 50,000 troops near the border. In June 2020, twenty Indian soldiers were killed due to a face-off between the troops. This was reported as the first combat conflict in nearly four decades. Later on, Chinese officials admitted casualties in the conflict.
The move triggered a backlash against China, which caused the central government to impose restrictions on Chinese investments and businesses. This included banning China-based gaming apps like PUBG, TikTok, and online shopping application – Shein.