India, China discuss 5-point agenda to ease border tensions at 19th WMCC meet

New Delhi (NVI): In another round of diplomatic-level talks on border standoff in eastern Ladakh, India and China today discussed five-point consensus reached earlier this month between the foreign ministers of two countries to resolve situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The 19th Meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination (WMCC) on India-China Border Affairs was held virtually between the two sides to resolve the nearly five-month-long border standoff.

“The two sides reviewed the current situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the India-China border areas and had frank and detailed discussions on the developments since the last meeting of the WMCC on 20 August, 2020,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

The two sides attached importance to the meetings between the two Defence Ministers and the two Foreign Ministers held earlier this month, the MEA said. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had met and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of SCO summit in Moscow.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi had also held a bilateral meeting at SCO meet in the wake of escalating tensions in eastern Ladakh which deteriorated after the armies of two sides clashed in Galwan Valley on June 15. Both sides had suffered loss of lives in the deadly face-off.

In today’s meeting the senior officials from the two sides also noted that the agreement between the two Foreign Ministers should be sincerely implemented to ensure disengagement at all the friction points along the LAC.

They also positively evaluated the outcome of the 6th Senior Commanders meeting on 21 September, the MEA said.

“They emphasized the need to implement the steps outlined in the joint press release issued after the last meeting of the senior commanders so as to avoid misunderstandings and to maintain stability on the ground. In this context, the need to strengthen communication, especially between the ground commanders, was emphasized by both sides,” the MEA statement read.

Apart from that, the WMCC meet also ​saw both the sides agreeing to continue to maintain close consultations at the diplomatic and military level.

“In this regard, they agreed that the next (7th) round of the meeting of Senior Commanders should be held at an early date so that both sides can work towards early and complete disengagement of the troops along the LAC in accordance with the existing bilateral agreement and protocols, and fully restore peace and tranquility,” MEA said.

The diplomatic level meeting takes place a day after India categorically rejected the Chinese interpretation of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, saying that it has never accepted the so-called unilaterally defined 1959 LAC and this position has been consistent and well known, including to the Chinese side.

MEA spokesman Anurag Srivastava, while responding to queries on a media report, quoting a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement regarding China’s position on the LAC, said that the 1959 claim made by Beijing was not mutually agreed upon.

-ARK