India-China Foreign Ministers agree to establish hotline
“A prolongation of the existing situation is not in the interest of India and China”, said EAM Jaishankar
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had a telephonic talk on Thursday with China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and both discussed the situation along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh and also issues related to India-China bilateral relations.
This was the first talk between the two ministers after their meeting in Moscow on the sidelines of SCO foreign ministers’ meeting in September 2020. In that meeting, the Indian side had expressed its concern on provocative behavior and unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter the status quo.
During the conversation which lasted for 75 minutes, the EAM had also maintained that the bilateral relations have been impacted severely over last year.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs, EAM S Jaishankar said that boundary questions may take time to resolve but disturbance of peace and tranquility including by violence, will inevitably have a damaging impact on the relationship.
The EAM said that during their meeting in Moscow last year, 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.
The EAM noted that the two sides had maintained continuous communication since then through both the diplomatic and military channels. This had led to progress as both sides had successfully disengaged in the Pangong Tso Lake area earlier this month.
Noting the completion of disengagement in the Pangong Lake area, the EAM emphasized that both sides should now quickly resolve the remaining issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.
EAM Jaishankar said that once 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 restoration of peace and tranquility.
On his part, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi 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 EAM highlighted that both sides had always agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquility in border areas was an essential basis for development of bilateral relations. 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. It 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 tranquility and provide conditions for progress of our bilateral relationship.
Foreign Minister 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. The Chinese Foreign Minister, as per the MEA, also 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.