India and China FMs to Set Up Hotline as Border Crisis eases | News on border disputes


Foreign ministers must have a direct line as nuclear-weapon neighbors seek to ease tensions along a disputed Himalayan border.

India and China have agreed to set up a direct line between their foreign ministers as the two nuclear-weapon neighbors seek to ease tensions along a disputed Himalayan border where their troops are stranded in clash since last year.

The decision was taken during a long appeal between the two foreign ministers on Thursday, India’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday, adding that New Delhi was pushing for a swift resolution of the border crisis.

“An extension of the existing situation was not in the interest of either party,” India’s foreign ministry said in a statement, citing the conversation between Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese Wang Yi.

“[Jaishankar] said that once the disengagement is completed at all sticking points, the two sides could also consider a wider de-escalation of troops in the region and work to restore peace and quiet, ”the statement added.

On Sunday, the two countries said their troops had withdrawn from the Pangong Tso Lake area in the western Himalayan region of Ladakh, where thousands of troops backed by tanks and artillery have clashed since April.

Wang said the situation on the ground in the lake area had “improved considerably,” according to a report by China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

“The two sides must cherish the hard-won progress, jointly consolidate the gains and maintain the momentum of the consultation, in order to further facilitate the situation,” he said.

Xinhua reported that Wang said the border issue “is not the whole story of Sino-Indian relations, and should be placed in an appropriate position in their relationship.”

But he added that India “has hesitated and even backed down on its policy on China, which has affected and disrupted pragmatic bilateral cooperation.”

A view of Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh, India [File: Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Under an agreement announced this month by Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, the two countries will now hold talks to end nearby deployments to other parts of Ladakh.

“Once the disengagement is completed at all sticking points, the two sides could also consider a wider de-escalation of troops in the region and work to restore peace and quiet,” India’s foreign ministry said. .

The stalemate in Ladakh began last April, when India said Chinese soldiers had infiltrated its side of the Real Line of Control (LAC), or de facto border, deeply.

China has said its troops are operating in its own area, accusing Indian soldiers of provocative actions.

In June, troops clashed in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, where hand-to-hand fighting left 20 Indians dead. Beijing last week said four of its troops were killed in the clash.

India and China share a 3,488 km (2,167 mile) border, mostly undefined, where their troops previously adhered to long-standing protocols to avoid the use of firearms.





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