India, China in regular touch to defuse border tension: MEA officials

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 18, 2020

Indian paramilitary soldiers keep guard as army convoy moves on the Srinagar-Ladakh highway at Gagangeer, north-east of Srinagar, on Thursday   -  AP

But both sides continue to trade charges

India and China are in regular touch through respective embassies and foreign offices and also at the ground level to defuse the intense tension at the disputed border area in Galwan Valley, Eastern Ladakh, following a violent face-off between the armed forces on Monday night, a senior official has said.

“The two sides are in regular touch through their respective embassies and foreign offices. At the ground level the two sides have maintained communication at the commanders’ level. Meetings of other established diplomatic mechanisms such as Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs are under discussion,” said Anurag Srivastava, Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, in a press briefing on Thursday.

India remains firmly convinced of the need for maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas and the resolution of differences through dialogue, Srivastava said. “At the same time, as Honourable PM stated yesterday, we are also strongly committed to ensuring India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added.

Blame game

Srivastava’s statement on territorial integrity is reflective of the blame-game that both countries have engaged in this week.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held a telephonic conversation on Wednesday where the two agreed not to take any action to escalate matters and instead, ensure peace and tranquility as per bilateral agreements and protocols, but blamed each other for the situation. Jaishankar also warned that the matter could affect bilateral relations.

“... the Chinese side departed from the consensus to respect the LAC in the Galwan valley. On the late evening and night of 15th June 2020, a violent face off happened when the Chinese side unilaterally attempted to change the status quo there. They took premeditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties suffered by both sides. This could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side,” said Srivastava.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying, in a tweet on Thursday, repeated China’s allegation that India provoked the attack. “Indian front-line troops broke the consensus and crossed the Line of Actual Control, deliberately provoking and attacking Chinese officers and soldiers, thus triggering fierce physical conflicts and causing casualties,” she tweeted.

Published on June 18, 2020

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