‘Peaceful discussions’: India, China hold diplomatic parleys on LAC standoff


COURTESY BY: https://www.hindustantimes.com/

A day ahead of crucial talks between Indian and Chinese army commanders on the stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the two sides agreed on Friday to handle their differences through peaceful dialogue while respecting each other’s concerns.

Joint secretary (East Asia) Naveen Srivastava of the external affairs ministry held a meeting with Wu Jianghao, director general in China’s foreign ministry, through video conference and reviewed bilateral relations, including the “current developments”, according to a readout from the Indian side.

This was the first formal diplomatic meeting between the two sides since tensions flared along the LAC following violent clashes between hundreds of Indian and Chinese troops in the Sikkim and Ladakh sectors early last month. Army officers of the two sides have held several meetings along the LAC but were unable to break the impasse.

Both sides agreed that in accordance with the guidance provided by their leadership, they “should handle their differences through peaceful discussion bearing in mind the importance of respecting each other’s sensitivities, concerns and aspirations and not allow them to become disputes”, the external affairs ministry said in a brief statement without giving details.

The two sides “recalled the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, that peaceful, stable and balanced relations between India and China will be a positive factor for stability in the current global situation”.

The officials of the two sides also exchanged views on the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and cooperation at different multilateral forums.

India and China have been in touch through diplomatic and military channels in New Delhi and Beijing to address the border tensions. Joint secretary Srivastava has been involved in these contacts, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity.

The people also acknowledged Friday’s meeting was meant to set the stage for the meeting on June 6 between the general officer commanding of Leh-based 14 Corps, Lt Gen Harinder Singh, and his Chinese counterpart.

The army commanders are meeting almost a month after tensions between India and China flared along the LAC, taking bilateral ties to a new low.

India has dismissed China’s contention that its troops were hindering the activities of Chinese troops along the LAC and accused Chinese forces of hindering patrols on the Indian side. The Indian government has also made it clear that it won’t allow any change in the status quo along the LAC and that it will tackle the prevailing situation with “strength and restraint”.

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