Sino-Indian border generally stable, work to better bilateral ties: China

Gen. Li Shangfu said the two countries should take a long-term view of the crisis

China India
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The situation on Sino-Indian border is generally stable and both countries must put the boundary row in an “appropriate position” and promote a transition to normalised management, China said on Friday.

The Chinese defence ministry made the statement a day after New Delhi categorically firmly told Beijing that China’s violation of the border pacts had eroded the entire basis of bilateral ties.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh brought India’s stand to the attention of his Chinese counterpart General Li Shangfu after he reached New Delhi to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers conference.

The two ministers discussed the standoff at the eastern Ladakh area since May 2020 at a 45-minute meeting on Thursday.

Rajnath Singh said all issues relating to the disputed frontier must be resolved in accordance with the existing pacts.

China’s stand

The Chinese defence ministry statement said the two sides exchanged views on militaries and bilateral relations.

Gen. Li pointed out that the situation on the China-India border was generally stable and the two sides have maintained communication through military and diplomatic channels.

The two sides should take a long-term view, place the border issue in an appropriate position in bilateral relations, and promote the transition of the border situation to normalised management, he said.

It is hoped the two countries will continuously enhance mutual trust between the two militaries and make proper contributions to developing bilateral relations, Li told Singh.

According to him, China and India share far more common interests than differences.

Frank talks

Indian government sources in New Delhi said Rajnath Singh conveyed to Li that after disengagement in the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh, there should be a movement towards de-escalation and expressed hope for a “positive response”.

India’s defence ministry said the two ministers had “frank discussions” – a diplomatic euphemism to denote differences in opinion — about the developments in the India-China border areas as well as bilateral relations.

Rajnath Singh said that “development of relations between India and China is premised on the prevalence of peace and tranquillity at the borders.

“He added that all issues at the LAC need to be resolved in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and commitments.

Rajnath Singh “reiterated that violation of existing agreements has eroded the entire basis of bilateral relations and disengagement at the border will logically be followed with de-escalation,” the statement said.

He said India too wants to improve relations with China but it can happen only after peace and tranquillity were restored at the border.

Chinese deployment

India has slammed China’s deployment of a massive number of troops and its aggressive conduct along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh in violation of pacts on border management.

The meeting between the defence ministers took place days after the Indian and Chinese armies held the 18th round of military talks on ending the border row which triggered a war in 1962.

On March 2, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks with his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang in New Delhi.

The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020 following a violent clash in the Pangong Lake area.

Rajnath Singh also held separate bilateral talks with his counterparts from Kazakhstan, Iran and Tajikistan and presented them mementoes. No memento was given to the Chinese minister.

Chinese foreign minister Qin is also set to visit India next week to attend a conclave of foreign ministers of SCO member countries in Goa. The meeting is slated for May 4 and 5.

(With agency inputs)