Positive progress has been made by the border troops of both India and China to disengage and ease the situation on the ground, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Friday at the end of the latest round of diplomatic talks between the two countries Hindustan Times reported.
The talks focused on both New Delhi and Beijing aiming at further “cooling” the situation at the border, China said.
“The two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on the recent Sino-Indian border situation and fully affirmed the positive progress made by the front-line border defence forces of the two countries to disengage from contact and ease the situation on the ground,” the foreign ministry said in a statement released Friday evening.
The statement was referring to the 17th meeting of the India-China Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs held online between senior diplomats from the two countries on Friday.
New Delhi and Beijing are closely monitoring each other’s disengagement process and levels of withdrawal as both countries cautiously attempt to resolve the latest – and the worst in decades – crisis in bilateral ties.
China is yet to reveal the PLA’s casualty figures but the Indian army lost 20 soldiers in a violent brawl between the border troops of the two countries on the night of June 15. Both sides have amassed large numbers of well-armed troops on their side.
Friday’s statement from China said both sides “…emphasised that they will maintain bilateral military and diplomatic dialogues and consultations in accordance with the important consensus reached by the two foreign ministers and special representatives on border issues, properly handle remaining issues on the ground, and promote further cooling of the border situation.”
The statement, issued in Mandarin, added that New Delhi and Beijing will continue to hold both diplomatic and military talks to calm the situation along the line of actual control (LAC).
“The two sides agreed that they will continue to hold meetings on the China-India border affairs consultation and coordination mechanism and the commander-level meeting of the border defence forces of the two countries to strengthen the building of confidence in the border area and jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border area,” the statement said.
The WMCC meeting was co-chaired by joint secretary (East Asia) Naveen Srivastava of the external affairs ministry and director general Hong Liang of the boundary and oceanic affairs department of China’s foreign ministry.
Ahead of Friday’s talks, external affairs ministry spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava had spoken in New Delhi about the importance of maintaining peace along the LAC.
“As we have stated earlier, the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas is the basis of our bilateral relationship. Therefore, it is our expectation that the Chinese side will sincerely work with us for complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas at the earliest as agreed to by the special representatives,” Srivastava said a day earlier.
Friday’s bilateral diplomatic interaction was the fourth round of WMCC talks between the two countries since the current tension at the LAC, which started in May – indicating the complex nature of the ongoing negotiations between the two neighbours.
The two sides have had four rounds of commander-level military talks as well.
Crucially, separate phone conversations have also been held between external affairs minister, S Jaishankar, national security adviser AK Doval with China’s Wang Yi, who has multiple designations including state councilor, foreign minister and China’s special representative for border talks with India reported Hindustan Times.