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Reviewing LAC disengagement: Jaishankar-Wang Yi discuss implementation of Moscow agreement

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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday afternoon spoke to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi reviewed the disengagement process along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh and discussed the implementation of Moscow Agreement on the standoff. “Spoke to State Councillor & Foreign Minister Wang Yi this afternoon. Discussed the implementation of our Moscow Agreement and reviewed the status of disengagement,” he tweeted.

A five-point agreement was reached between Jaishankar and Wang at a meeting in Moscow on September 10, 2020, on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet. The pact included measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the Line of Actual Control. This was the only face to face meet between the two Foreign Ministers so far since the standoff.

Last month Jaishankar had suggested an eight-point proposition for stabilising India-China ties that has touched a low following Beijing’s decision to alter status quo along LAC last April and subsequent killing of Indian military personnel in Galwan.

“First and foremost, agreements already reached must be adhered to in their entirety, both in letter and spirit. Second, where the handling of the border areas are concerned, the LAC must be strictly observed and respected; any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo is completely unacceptable. Third, peace and tranquillity in the border areas is the basis for development of relations in other domains. If they are disturbed, so inevitably will the rest of the relationship. This is quite apart from the issue of progress in the boundary negotiations. Fourth, while both nations are committed to a multi-polar world, there should be a recognition that a multi-polar Asia is one of its essential constituents,” the Minister said, adding, “Fifth, obviously each state will have its own interests, concerns and priorities; but sensitivity to them cannot be one-sided. At the end of the day, relationships between major states are reciprocal in nature. Sixth, as rising powers, each will have their own set of aspirations and their pursuit too cannot be ignored. Seventh, there will always be divergences and differences but their management is essential to our ties. And eighth, civilizational states like India and China must always take the long view. ”

India on Thursday said it has not conceded any territory as part of the disengagement agreement with China and asserted that it has rather enforced observance of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to prevent any unilateral change in the status quo. At an online media briefing here, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said there has not been any change in India’s position on the LAC and the mutual redeployment as a result of the disengagement process should not be misrepresented.

Asked about the recent agreement on the de-escalation process in Ladakh’s Pangong Lake area, he said the factual position has been very well conveyed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and in a Defence Ministry statement, which he said was aimed at setting the record straight in view of certain misleading and misinformed comments that appeared in the media.

On Wednesday Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane talking about the efforts to normalise the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, said, “Whatever we did as a government, as a nation, has shown that the resolve that we have in maintaining our interest foremost. I think that with this ‘Whole-of-Government Approach’ our relations with China would develop along the path that we wish to develop.” The recent India-China disengagement at Pangong Tso, the army chief said, saw a good end result and termed it as a win-win situation.

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