Border still tense, India echoes China’s amiable words

Border still tense, India echoes China’s amiable words; cold shoulders Trump’s mediation offer

China’s military is yet to pull out troops to defuse tension along its disputed boundary with India, despite exchange of conciliatory words by diplomats in Beijing and New Delhi

New Delhi on Thursday subtly cold shouldered US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate between India and China, indicating that it would rather continue with its bilateral engagements with the neighbouring communist country to restore the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border between the two nations – on the northern bank of the Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh. 

 A spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi said that India and China had “established mechanisms both at military and diplomatic levels” to peacefully resolve through dialogue situations, which might arise in border areas between the two nations. He said that New Delhi and Beijing continued to “remain engaged through these channels”.

Though a day has passed after Beijing struck a conciliatory note, raising hopes for an early breakthrough in its talks with New Delhi, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has not yet withdrawn its soldiers, who had transgressed into the territories claimed by India. The Indian Army too has not yet pulled out the additional troops it deployed in response to the Chinese PLA’s aggressive posturing.

New Delhi, however, echoed the amiable words that came from Beijing on Wednesday.

“India is committed to the objective of maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas with China and our armed forces scrupulously follow the consensus reached by our leaders and the guidance provided,” Anurag Srivastava, the MEA spokesperson, said in New Delhi on Thursday.

He was referring to the consensus reached between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the two informal summits they had in April 2018 and October 2019 on maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas pending the resolution of the protracted dispute over the boundary through negotiations.

Srivastava’s statement came a day after his counterpart in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese Government, Zhao Lijian, too had referred to the “important consensus” the two nations had reached during the informal summits between the Prime Minister of India and the Chinese President. Zhao had said in Beijing on Wednesday that the situation along the disputed border between the two nations was “overall stable and controllable”.

 "At the same time,” the MEA spokesperson added while briefing mediapersons in New Delhi, “we remain firm in our resolve to ensure India’s sovereignty and national security.”

He said that the Indian Army soldiers took a very responsible approach towards border management and strictly followed the procedures laid out in various bilateral agreements and protocols with China to resolve any issue that might arise in the border areas. 

“We are engaged with the Chinese side to peacefully resolve these issues,” Srivastava said, avoiding a direct reply to a question from a journalist on New Delhi’s response to the US President’s offer to mediate between India and China to resolve the boundary dispute.  Trump’s earlier offers to mediate between India and Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir had been categorically rejected by New Delhi

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