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India, China to hold Commander-level meet soon; MEA asserts necessary to ensure ground stability

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New Delhi: India on Thursday (September 24, 2020) said it is necessary to ensure stability on the ground while India and China work towards ensuring complete disengagement of troops in all friction areas in eastern Ladakh.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Anurag Srivastava in a virtual press conference said the way ahead will be to refrain from making any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo and that disengagement is a complex process which would require both countries to follow on mutually agreed actions.

“The way ahead will be to refrain from making any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo, while the two sides continue their discussions to achieve complete disengagement in all friction areas and to ensure full restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” he said.

Srivastava said the next meeting under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs is likely to take place “soon”.

“Even as two sides work towards complete disengagement in all friction areas, it is at the same time also necessary to ensure stability on the ground. The latest senior commanders meeting should be seen in this overall context,” he said.

India and China held the sixth round of Corps commander-level talks on Monday following which both sides announced a series of decisions including to stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground and avoid taking any actions that may further complicate matters.

The MEA spokesperson referred to the first ever joint press release issued by the two sides on Tuesday after any Corps commander-level meeting during the four-and-a-half-month standoff, adding it reflected their stated commitment to disengage along the Line of Actual Control(LAC).

“As we have pointed out earlier, disengagement is a complex process that requires redeployment of troops by each side towards their regular posts on their respective sides of the LAC. This would require mutually agreed reciprocal actions,” he said.

Srivastava also said the meeting gave the senior commanders an opportunity to have candid and in-depth exchange of views on stabilising the situation along the LAC.

Three days ago, the Indian and Chinese sides, in a joint statement, after the 14-hour-long diplomatic-military talks in Moldo said that both have agreed to implement the consensus reached by their leaders over the border issue.

On September 21, senior Indian and Chinese commanders held the 6th round of Military Commander-Level Meeting.

“The two sides had candid and in-depth exchanges of views on stabilising the situation along the LAC in the India-China border areas,” Indian Army had stated.

The situation at the LAC escalated after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash in Galwan Valley on June 15. The Chinese side too suffered casualties, but it is yet to divulge the details.

The situation further deteriorated following at least three attempts by the soldiers of the Chinese PLA to “intimidate” Indian troops along the northern and southern bank of Pangong lake area in the last three weeks where even shots were fired in the air for the first time at the LAC in 45 years.

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