India, China maintaining engagements to resolve eastern Ladakh row at earliest: MEA
New Delhi: India and China are maintaining military and diplomatic engagements to peacefully resolve the eastern Ladakh row at the earliest, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.
At a weekly media briefing, spokesperson in the MEA Anurag Srivastava said both sides have agreed to work for an early resolution to the issue in keeping with broader guidance provided by leaders of the two countries for ensuring peace and tranquility along the border areas.
He, however, did not respond to questions relating to reports of pulling back of troops by both India and China from certain friction points in the Galwan Valley and Hot Spring areas in eastern Ladakh in the last few days.
“A meeting was held between core commanders of India and China on June 06. This meeting was in continuation of our diplomatic and military engagement which both sides maintained in order to address the situation in areas along the India-China border,” the MEA spokesperson said.
“It was agreed in the meeting that an early resolution of the situation would be in keeping with guidance of our leaders. The two sides are, therefore, maintaining military and diplomatic engagements to peacefully resolve the situation at the earliest and also to ensure peace and tranquility in the border areas,” he said.
“This is essential for further development of India-China bilateral relations,” Srivastava said.
Military sources on Tuesday claimed that the two armies began “disengagement” around patrolling points 14 and 15 in Galwan Valley and another in the Hot Spring area, adding that the Chinese side has even moved back up to 1.5 km in the two areas.
Indian and Chinese troops were in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation since May 05 following a violent clash on the banks of the Pangong lake.
The trigger for the face-off was China’s stiff opposition to India laying a key road in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso Lake besides 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 has already decided not to stall any border infrastructure projects in eastern Ladakh in view of the Chinese protests.
The situation in the area deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on May 05 and 06. The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 09.
The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long LAC. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet while India contests it.