India, China inching towards détente

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PTI

New Delhi

Announcing a slew of decisions to bring down tensions in eastern Ladakh, the Indian and Chinese armies have decided to stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground, and avoid taking any actions that may further complicate the environment.

The decisions were mentioned in a joint statement issued by the two armies late Tuesday, a day after the sixth round of Sino-India Corps commander-level talks that lasted for 14 hours.

The two armies also agreed to strengthen communication on the ground, avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments and earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries.

“The two sides had candid and in-depth exchange of views on stabilising the situation along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas,” said the statement released by the Indian Army.

It said the two sides also agreed to take practical measures to properly solve problems on the ground, and jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

It said both sides also resolved to hold the 7th round of military commander talks as soon as possible.

“They agreed to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, strengthen communication on the ground, avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments, stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground, and avoid taking any actions that may complicate the situation,” the
statement said.

A common assessment that emerged at the meeting was there should not be any further escalation in tensions as the situation had deteriorated in the Chushul sector following three incidents of shots being fired in the air by the Chinese troops in the last three weeks, the sources said.

The sources said there was a shared view that disengagement of troops was necessary to bring down the tensions and both sides should continue the diplomatic and military talks to finalise the broad contours.

At the talks, the Indian side pressed for an early and complete disengagement of Chinese troops from all the friction points and insisted it was for China to take the first steps to de-escalate the situation, government sources said.

“The focus was to defuse tensions,” a source said.

The Indian side conveyed its position as the two delegations extensively deliberated on implementing the five-point agreement reached between India and China on September 10 to ease the border standoff that began in early May.

It is learnt that the Indian delegation also insisted on a time-bound implementation of the agreement finalised during the extensive talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meet.

The sources said the agenda for the Monday talks was to chart a specific timeline for implementation of the five-point agreement.