India and China have pledged to de-escalate the tensions along their disputed Himalayan border after a meeting of the foreign ministers on Thursday for the first time since May when the stand-off began. The Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi has reached a consensus that will guide the approach of the two countries, as the border conflict has been rising to unprecedented levels since May. The statement put out by the Indian embassy in Beijing said that the talks between the two ministers were ‘frank and constructive.’
As per the mutual decision on five points, the ministers have agreed that the border situations are not in favor of either of the countries. Therefore, the troops should immediately disengage, continue the dialogue, and maintain proper distance – to avoid any possible clash. The ministers also agreed that the two countries will abide by all the pacts signed previously in 1993, 1996, 2005, and 2012. It has also been agreed that both sides will continue to work for confidence-building measures for “peace and tranquility in the border areas.” The communication shall continue through the Special Representative mechanism (SR) on the India-China boundary question and Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs (WMCC).
The sources believe that the EAM told Chinese FM that these recent events are inevitably impacting the development of bilateral relationships, and it calls for an immediate resolution in the best interests of both nations. As China cannot provide any credible explanation for the military deployment, India is stressing that it comes as a violation of the agreements made in 1993 and 1996.
The foreign ministers address the issues
Beijing was told by India, “The provocative behavior of Chinese frontline troops at numerous incidents of friction along the LAC also showed disregard for bilateral agreements and protocols.” Sources say that India has conveyed to China that the immediate task “to prevent any untoward incident in the future”, is “to ensure a comprehensive disengagement of troops in all the friction areas.”
- Jaishankar said, “As a result, India-China cooperation also developed in a broad range of domains, giving the relationship a more substantive character. While the Indian side recognized that a solution to the boundary question required time and effort, it was also clear that the maintenance of peace and tranquility on the border areas was essential to the forward development of ties.” On the other hand, the Chinese statement said that it was normal to have conflicts between India and China, and “As two large developing countries emerging rapidly, what China and India need right now is cooperation, not confrontation; and mutual trust, not suspicion. Whenever the situation gets difficult, it is all the more important to ensure the stability of the overall relationship and preserve mutual trust.”
At the time of the falling economy and increasing border conflict, this meeting between the foreign ministers comes as a welcome approach by the Indian government. Previous talks between the foreign diplomats and even the defense ministers had ended in both sides putting out their versions of the meeting, so a consensus seems to be a positive development in the case. There are hopes for India and China to get back to a comparatively calmer stage after this agreement.