Negotiations Only Way Forward: Centre On China-India Border Row

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 Centre On China-India Border Row

Since May, Chinese forces have transgressed into 6 areas along the disputed LAC in Ladakh

New Delhi:

China should "sincerely engage" with India to restore peace along the border through complete disengagement, New Delhi said today, asserting that negotiations were the only way ahead.

On Chinese military provocations at Ladakh's Pangong Tso, the foreign ministry said these actions were "aimed at effecting a unilateral change in the status quo".

Chinese troops engaged in provocative action at the south bank of Pangong Lake last Saturday night and again on Monday, but Indian forces were prepared and were able to "prevent these attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo" at the Line of Actual Control, the government said.

China made a second attempt "even as the ground commanders of the two sides were in discussions to de-escalate the situation," the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, adding that India had taken it up with China through diplomatic and military channels and has "urged them to discipline and control" their frontline troops.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said ground commanders are still in discussions to resolve the situation.

"We reiterate the consensus reached between the two Foreign Ministers and Special Representatives that the situation in the border should be handled in a responsible manner and either side should not take any provocative action or escalate matters. It is clear that the situation we witness over the past four months is a direct result of the actions taken by the Chinese side that sought to effect unilateral change of status quo. These actions resulted in violation of the bilateral agreements and protocol which ensured peace and tranquility in the border areas for close to three decades," Mr Kumar said.

"Now the way ahead is negotiations, both through the diplomatic and military channels. The Indian side is firmly committed to resolving all outstanding issues through peaceful dialogue."

On Monday, in a daytime operation, Indian soldiers were surrounded by Chinese soldiers who were trying to regain heights dominated by the Indian army. Chinese soldiers were warned not to proceed and a Chinese military commander in discussions with an Indian brigadier at the time was told to tell his forces to stand down to prevent any escalation.

After China's July 29 attempt was foiled, the Chinese Embassy in Delhi, in a strong statement, said ''India's move has grossly violated China's territorial sovereignty, seriously violated relevant agreements, protocols and important consensus reached between the two countries.''

The army has taken effective military control of the entire area till India's perception of the Line of Actual Control in the region. It now controls multiple key ridges on the south bank of the Pangong Lake, sources say, adding that this was the result of an entirely defensive move to counter a Chinese build-up.

Since May, Chinese forces have repeatedly transgressed into six areas along the disputed Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh. In June, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in action in Galwan Valley.

Though a buffer zone between the forces has since been created, the disengagement process was not complete.

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