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Published On: Thu, Oct 15th, 2020

India, China are engaged in ‘confidential talks’ to resolve Ladakh standoff,: Jaishankar

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indo chinaNEW DELHI : Foreign Minister S Jaishankar has said he would not wish to “predict” the outcome of the ongoing discussions between India and China regarding the border dispute at Ladakh. “The discussions are going on.
S Jaishankar on Thursday said that India and China were engaged in confidential talks to resolve the five-month-long border standoff between the armies of the two countries, the Hindustan Times reported. The seventh round of talks between the border commanders of India and China was held on October 12.

“Discussions are on; what is going on is something confidential between us and the Chinese,” the minister said at the Bloomberg India Economic Forum. “There is not very much that I am in a position to say in public. I certainly do not want to prejudge it.”

Jaishankar refused to answer a question about the situation in Tibet and its current tensions with China. “I do not think we should get into other issues which frankly has nothing to do with the situation currently in Ladakh,” he said.
“For the last 30 years, we [India and China] have built a relationship predicated on peace and tranquility along the border.” India and China have signed agreements since 1993 to maintain peace and tranquility on the disputed border.
When pressed to respond on the issue, the minister said, “What is going on is something confidential between us and China and we will see how it plays out”. A resolution to the situation in Ladakh – where India has been pressing for total disengagement, de-escalation and restoration of status quo ante in all areas of eastern Ladakh prior to April — has so far proved elusive.
China not only left the disengagement process – started after the National Security Advisor-level talks — halfway, but also undertook provocative actions to change the status quo on ground through fresh transgressions.
Not just the border area, the Chinese government had also raised objection to the inauguration of a series of bridges in Ladakh.Today, the foreign ministry again issued a loud and clear message to China.

“The Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been, are, and would remain an integral part of India. China has no locus standi to comment on India’s internal matters. We hope that countries will not comment on India’s internal matters, as much as they expect the same of others,” the ministry said.
Last month, following Beijing’s assertion of its position on the Line of Actual Control or LAC, India said it comprehensively rejects Chinese claims on its location in Ladakh. The 1959 claim made by Beijing was not mutually agreed upon, India reminded China.

The different perceptions about the LAC were at the bottom of the repeated flare-ups at the border where “the Chinese and Indian perceptions of LAC overlap”, Union minister Rajnath Singh had told the Lok Sabha last month.
Today, Mr Jaishankar said the relation between India and China had improved following signing of a series of agreements since 1993 on maintaining peace and tranquility along the border.
After the sixth round of military talks in September, India and China had said both the countries have resolved to stop sending more troops to the frontline amid the border standoff. Both countries also agreed to take practical measures to properly solve problems on the ground and ensure peace in the border areas, it added.

Military heads of the two countries have engaged in several rounds of talks over the last three months after 20 Indian and unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed in violent clashes in Galwan Valley in Ladakh on June 15. But these talks have failed to break the impasse.
The EAM dismissed China’s stance on not recognising Arunachal Pradesh state and the union territory of Ladakh, saying both regions are an integral part of India and Beijing has no locus standi to comment on such internal matters.
The remarks by external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava reflected the stalemate in efforts to end the standoff in Ladakh sector, which has entered its sixth month, and the lack of progress in disengagement of troops at friction points after several rounds of diplomatic and military talks.
S Jaishankar, participating in the Bloomberg India Economic Forum online, made it clear that New Delhi wasn’t to blame for the tensions. Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, he pointed out that India and China had built their relationship and expanded cooperation over the past 30 years “predicated on peace and tranquility along the border”.
China’s foreign ministry had on Monday cited India’s infrastructure development and troop deployments as the root causes of tensions. It also said India should refrain from actions that could escalate the situation.
But Srivastava said India was creating infrastructure that improved the lives of its people. “The government gives careful and specific attention to improvement of infrastructure for the development of border areas in order to facilitate economic development of these areas, as also to meet India’s strategic and security requirements,” he said.
(With Agency Inputs).

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