NEW DELHI: India and China are taking steps to ease the situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh on the basis of a “consensus”, the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs said on Thursday, a position that echoes the articulation in New Delhi.
Refusing to share details of the de-escalation, ministry spokesperson
said, “I can only tell you that through diplomatic, military channels, the two sides are properly handling relevant issues with effective communication. We have reached consensus and based on that consensus, both sides are taking actions to ease the situation.”
MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, when questioned, reiterated the Indian position that a peaceful border was “essential for further development of India-China bilateral relations”.
“The two sides are maintaining their military and diplomatic engagements to peacefully resolve the situation at the earliest as also to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” he said.
Sources here said India and China had only started what they called a “limited” disengagement, with a lot of work yet to start. Apart from eastern Ladakh, Indian officials said they had detected repeated probing intrusions by the Chinese on other parts of the LAC in recent weeks, both in the middle and eastern sectors.
There is particular concern about the impasse at Pangong Tso where
were stopped from patrolling at Finger 4, also known as Foxhole Ridge by the Chinese who have built a concrete structure.
India claims Finger 8 as the LAC and in the summer of 2019, Indian troops used a new route to patrol near Finger 8 and Sirijap where the Chinese have a base. Sources said the Chinese are using this to justify blocking the Indians at Finger 4. This is unacceptable to the Indian side, so this area is likely to see tough negotiations, or worse.
Reports said after the scuffle between Indian and Chinese soldiers at Pangong Tso on the night of May 5, NSA Ajit Doval had spoken to Yang Jieche, Chinese state councillor and former special representative for boundary talks, on May 8 calling for a halt in hostilities. On May 9, Indian and Chinese troops engaged in yet another scuffle in Naku La — Chinese troops only upped their aggression and were met with a pushback.
The two sides have remained engaged in aggressive posture in areas such as Pangong Tso, Daulat Beg Oldie and Demchok though some troops were pulled back from Galwan and Hot Springs. Sources in government said the Indian side was ready to return troops back to these areas if it appeared that there was no progress in talks at Pangong Tso or removal of heavy weaponry from the depth areas on the Chinese side.
India has also clarified to the Chinese that it would continue with its border infrastructure work — last week, for instance, Border Roads Organisation requisitioned 11,815 workers to build roads on the China border. They are called Operation Vijayak in Ladakh, Project Shivalik in Uttarakhand, Project Deepak in
, Project Beacon in Jammu and Kashmir.