India once again reiterated on Thursday that China should “not alter the status quo unilaterally” at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Ladakh sector, adding that “complete disengagement requires re-deployment of troops by each side towards their regular posts on their respective sides of the LAC” and “can be done only through mutually agreed reciprocal actions”.
New Delhi however indicated that it had faith that the issue could be resolved through diplomacy, referring to a recent utterance by External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar that all Sino-Indian stand-offs in the past decade were “resolved through diplomacy”.
It may be recalled that EAM Jaishankar had recently stated that the current crisis in Sino-Indian relations “is surely the most serious situation after 1962” and that “the quantum of forces currently deployed by both sides at the LAC is also unprecedented”. This comes amid continued Chinese military intransigence in withdrawing to the positions of April this year in the Ladakh sector. It may also be recalled that India has also mobilised a significant number of troops with heavy weaponry near the borders with China in response to the Chinese military build-up. India is also clear that it will not agree to any unilateral change of the LAC by China.
On Thursday in response to a query at his weekly briefing, MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, I would also refer you to the recent interview of External Affairs Minister wherein referring to various past border incidents he had noted that what was common was that all borders situations were resolved through diplomacy. EAM had further noted that “when it comes to finding a solution, this must be predicated on honouring all agreements and understandings. And not attempting to alter the status quo unilaterally”.
The MEA Spokesperson added, “As I had conveyed earlier, complete disengagement requires re-deployment of troops by each side towards their regular posts on their respective sides of the LAC. It is natural that this can be done only through mutually agreed reciprocal actions. Thus it is important to bear in mind that achieving this requires agreed actions by both sides.”
He further said, “As you know last week, the 18th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) took place. During the meeting the two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on the existing situation in the India-China border areas. Both sides have reaffirmed that the two sides will continue to sincerely work towards complete disengagement of the troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Sector in accordance with the agreements reached between the two Foreign Ministers and the two Special Representatives (SRs) during their conversation on 5th July.”
He also said, “In this context, in the last meeting of the WMCC the two sides have agreed to resolve the outstanding issues in an expeditious manner and in accordance with the existing agreements and protocols. Both sides also agree that full restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas would be essential for the overall development of bilateral relations. The two sides had also agreed to continue their engagements both through diplomatic and military channels.”...