Asserting that China and India are “important neighbours to each other”, the Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday (June 24) said maintaining peace and tranquility along the Sino-India border is in the common interests of both the parties and requires joint efforts.
In separate statements, the Chinese foreign and defence ministries, however, repeated Beijing’s stand that India was responsible for the June 15 violent face-off in eastern Ladakh.
Defence Ministry Spokesman Col Wu Qian said the two defence ministers are negotiating on the phone. “The two sides held a second military-level meeting on June 22 to exchange in-depth views on controlling tensions and maintaining peace and stability in the border areas,” he said.
Noting that China and India are important neighbours to each other, Wu said maintaining peace and tranquility in the border area is in the common interests of both parties and requires the joint efforts of both parties.
“We hope that India and China will meet each other, effectively implement the important consensus between the leaders of the two countries, strictly abide by the agreement reached by the two parties, and continue to properly resolve relevant issues through dialogue and negotiation at all levels. We will make joint efforts to ease the situation in the border areas and maintain peace and stability in the border areas,” he added.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the foreign ministers of the two sides during their telephone talk on June 17 agreed to deal with this serious matter in a just way.
“The two sides will stick to the Commander level meeting consensus and cool down the situations soon as possible. The two sides will also maintain peace and tranquility of the border areas, in accordance with the agreement reached so far,” he said.
Zhao also said that a second round of Commander level meeting was held on June 22 and 23 during which the two sides agreed to take measures to de-escalate the situation and jointly promote peace and tranquility.
The talks were held in the midst of escalating tension between the two countries following the violent clashes in Galwan Valley on June 15 that left 20 Indian Army personnel dead, significantly escalating the already volatile situation in the region.
Zhao again accused India of “provoking” a border clash, saying the onus is not on China’s part.
This risky behaviour by the Indian side greatly violated the agreement between the two countries and the basic norms guiding international relations. It’s very serious, with very severe consequences, he said.
Asked why after a positive meeting between the Commanders of the two armed forces, he is repeating the allegations, Zhao said, “What I have just said is meant to clarify the whole situation, tell the truth to everyone. We made this statement because the MEA in India and also Indian media have made some false reports.”
The Indian and Chinese armies are engaged in the standoff in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok, and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh. A sizable number of Chinese Army personnel even transgressed into the Indian side of the de-facto border in several areas including Pangong Tso.
The Indian Army has been fiercely objecting to the transgressions, and demanded their immediate withdrawal for restoration of peace and tranquillity in the area. Both sides held a series of talks in the last few days to resolve the border row.
This comes after weeks of escalating tensions between India and China, which were triggered after an arm-to-arm combat between Indian and Chinese troops.
This was followed by both nations bringing in more troops and recording increased activity along the area, including allegedly enhancing temporary defence infrastructure and weaponry, and upgrading a military airbase around 180 km from the Pangong Tso area.
The whole ordeal began when China opposed India’s plan to lay a key road in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso Lake and the construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.
The road in the Finger area in Pangong Tso is considered crucial for India to carry out patrol.
India stated firmly that it would not stall any border infrastructure projects in eastern Ladakh in view of China’s protests.
(With inputs from agencies)