Redouble disengagement efforts, LAC peace essential: Jaishankar to Wang

Foreign minister S Jaishankar in a meeting with his counterpart Wang Yi called for redoubling military and diplomatic efforts to achieve complete disengagement in the remaining areas in eastern Ladakh, as India and China agreed the prolongation of the current situation in the border areas is not in the interest of either side. Jaishankar told Wang respecting LAC and restoring border peace and tranquillity is essential for removing obstacles towards return of normalcy in Sino-Indian bilateral relationship, which PM Narendra Modi recently described as important for the entire region and the world.
Jaishankar met Wang on the margins of the SCO summit in Astana Thursday.While they met briefly at the Munich Security Conference in February this year, their last formal bilateral meeting was in Jakarta in July 2023.
In line with China’s position that progress in bilateral ties is not stymied by the border issue, Wang sought “positive thinking’’ in the form of efforts on one hand to manage the situation in the border areas and, on the other, to “actively resume’’ normal exchanges on the other. This never sat well with India’s position that there can’t be normalcy till the time disengagement is fully completed in eastern Ladakh.
India and China have achieved disengagement at 4 points in the western sector, since the ongoing standoff erupted in May 2020, but the same has remained elusive in Depsang and Demchok areas even after 21 rounds of military and 15 rounds of diplomatic talks. China sees these as legacy issues that predate the current standoff.
During the “in-depth’’ exchange of views for early resolution and rebuilding of ties, Jaishankar reaffirmed the importance of fully abiding by relevant bilateral agreements, protocols, and understandings reached between the two governments in the past. “The Line of Actual Control must be respected and peace and tranquillity in the border areas always ensured,’’ said the Indian side in its readout, adding India and China agreed to step up meetings to address the remaining issues. Another round of diplomatic talks is expected soon.
Jaishankar reiterated India’s position that mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interest – the 3 mutuals – will guide bilateral ties.
Before Modi opted out, the SCO summit was seen as the first opportunity for both sides to consider a meeting between him and President Xi Jinping, who have not had a formal bilateral meeting since 2019, after the return of the NDA government. The leaders, who did meet informally at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg last year and at G20 in Bali 2022, are now expected to come face to face only in October at the BRICS summit in Russia in October. While discussing regional and global situations, Jaishankar also told Wang India will support China’s upcoming presidency of SCO.
After an 18-month hiatus, the longest since the restoration of ambassadorial relations in 1976, China finally appointed a new ambassador to India, Xu Feihong, in May this year. In April this year, in an interview to Newsweek, Modi called for urgently addressing the prolonged situation on the border to do away with the abnormality in ties, adding stable and peaceful relations between India and China are important for not just the 2 countries but the entire region and world.
According to a Chinese readout, Jaishankar told Wang India follows an independent foreign policy, the concept of multilateralism, and will safeguard the common interests of developing countries.
“China and India, both countries in the “Global South”, should work together to oppose unilateral bullying, resist camp confrontation, safeguard the common interests of developing countries, and make due contributions to regional and world peace, stability and development,’’ said the Chinese statement.

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