India said on Friday that it hoped that China will work towards ensuring that disengagement in the remaining areas in eastern Ladakh is completed at the earliest.
This aspect was emphasised by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in a telephone conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last week. The External Affairs Minister had emphasised that with the completion of disengagement in the Pangong Lake area, the two sides should now move quickly to resolve the remaining issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh, said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava at the weekly media briefing.
Interestingly, these attempts by India and China to cool tensions on their land border come amidst concerted attempts by the new Biden administration to keep afloat the Quad grouping of India, the US, Japan and Australia aimed at containing China in the South China Sea.
Close on the heels of a Quad Foreign Ministers’ interaction on February 18, US President Joe Biden has proposed a step up in the engagement through a virtual summit this month with PMs Narendra Modi, Yoshihide Suga (Japan) and Scott Morrison (Australia).
Srivastava went on to add that the Indian expectation is that the Chinese side will work, both through the WMCC and Senior Commanders’ meetings, to effect a speedy disengagement.
The Senior Military Commanders in their last meeting held on February 20 had also noted that the disengagement in the Pangong Lake area provided a good basis for the resolution of other remaining issues along the LAC in the Western Sector.
India maintains that maintenance of peace and tranquility along the LAC was essential for the development of bilateral relations and that a prolongation of the existing situation was not in the interest of either side.
The two Ministers have also agreed to establish a hotline, details of which will be worked out subsequently through diplomatic channels.
The disengagement in the remaining areas will lead to the restoration of peace and tranquility and provide conditions for progress in our bilateral relationship, emphasised Srivastava.
India says the situation on the LAC for over six months was due to actions of the Chinese side which has sought to effect a unilateral change in its status in Eastern Ladakh. These actions are in violation of the bilateral agreements and protocol on ensuring peace and tranquility along the LAC in the India-China border areas.
Russia welcomes de-escalation
Russia welcomed the agreements reached between India and China to deescalate tensions on the line of actual control (LAC).
“We continue to monitor the situation at the China-India border. We welcome the agreements reached by the foreign ministers of China and India during the phone conversation on February 25. We respect the parties’ resolve to settle the situation without foreign interference and within the existing framework of the multi-level mechanisms of bilateral dialogue,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said at a media briefing on Friday.