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New Delhi, September 11, 2020
Amid the tensions on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on Thursday and both sides agreed their border troops should quickly disengage and maintain proper distance.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting.
"Both Ministers had a frank and constructive discussion on the developments in the India-China border areas as well as on India-China relations," a joint press statement issued by the two sides after the meeting said.
"The two Ministers agreed that both sides should take guidance from the series of consensus of the leaders on developing India-China relations, including not allowing differences to become disputes.
"The two Foreign Ministers agreed that the current situation in the border areas is not in the interest of either side. They agreed therefore that the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions," it said.
According to the statement, the two Ministers agreed that both sides shall abide by all the existing agreements and protocol on China-India boundary affairs, maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas and avoid any action that could escalate matters.
"The two sides also agreed to continue to have dialogue and communication through the Special Representative mechanism on the India-China boundary question. They also agreed in this context that the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs (WMCC), should also continue its meetings.
"The Ministers agreed that as the situation eases, the two sides should expedite work to conclude new Confidence Building Measures to maintain and enhance peace and tranquillity in the border areas," the statement added.
The meeting came a week after Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe, also on the sidelines of an SCO meeting in Moscow.
India has been calling for complete disengagement at the earliest from all friction areas, including Pangong Lake, as well as for de-escalation in border areas.
It has also been urging China to strictly respect and observe the line of actual control and not to make attempts to unilaterally change the status quo.
India has, over various interactions at different levels in recent weeks, made it clear to China that its actions, including amassing of large number of troops, their aggressive behaviour and attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo, were in violation of the bilateral agreements and not in keeping with the understandings reached between the Special Representatives of two sides.
Tensions between the two sides have escalated since June 14 when 15 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese troops lost their lives in a violent faceoff in the Galwan valley.
Despite several levels of dialgoue, there has not been any breakthrough and the four-month-long standoff at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh continues.