Diplomatic intervention may ease tensions between India and China3 min read . Updated: 17 Sep 2020, 07:55 AM IST
A diplomat may possibly join the next round of talks between military commanders of both countries
Chances that a temporary truce between India and China may hold seemed possible with a person familiar with the matter on Wednesday saying that a diplomat could join military commanders for the next round of talks between the two countries to bring down tensions at the border.
Indian and Chinese soldiers had fired 100-200 rounds of “warning shots" on the north bank of Pangong lake in early September, but the past five or six days have not seen any aggressive moves by the Chinese along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, where tensions have been running high since early May, he added.
The firing of warning shots, first reported by The Indian Express on Wednesday had happened when Indian soldiers were trying to take position at a post overlooking the the northern bank of the Pangong Tso, the person cited above said. The north bank is where the Chinese troops have ensconced themselves at the heights of Finger 4, one of the eight mountain spurs jutting out into the lake.
There was another instance of firing last week when Chinese troops tried to approach Indian positions on the south bank of Pangong Tso and fired shots in the air. The northern and southern banks of the lake are at the centre of the ongoing border standoff, and among the friction points where Indian and Chinese soldiers are ranged against each other separated by a few hundred metres.
Both incidents of firing took place ahead of a meeting between Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on 10 September, during which they agreed to take steps to defuse tensions in Ladakh. After the talks, India and China released a joint statement, according to which they would “continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance, ease tensions and work towards new confidence-building measures".
There were no aggressive moves from the Chinese side, since the Jaishankar-Wang meeting, the person mentioned above said.
A meeting of the corps commanders, the sixth round between the two sides since the tensions broke out, was expected to take place this week though no dates have been finalized as yet, the person cited above said.
The talks could see a diplomat joining the discussions but a final decision on the matter is pending, a second person familiar with the matter said. Diplomats of the two countries are also expected to meet soon under the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs, this person said.
How fragile and complex the situation between the countries was became evident when the Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday urged India to immediately correct “its wrong practices and disengage on the ground as soon as possible". It also blamed India for rise in tensions along the border.
“It is imperative for India to immediately correct its wrong practices, disengage on the ground as soon as possible and take concrete actions to ease the tension along the China-India border," China’s state-backed Global Times news website quoted foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin as saying at Wednesday’s media briefing in Beijing.
Wang also said that China was not responsible for the recent border situation between China and India, a remark that follows a statement by defence minister Rajnath Singh to Parliament on Tuesday pinning the blame for the tensions on massive mobilization of troops by China since April and repeated attempts at intrusion into India by Chinese troops.
Singh is expected to make a statement in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday following which he is likely to answer some questions from members of Parliament on the ongoing border dispute.