Diplomatic intervention may pave way for temporary truce between India and China3 min read . Updated: 16 Sep 2020, 06:02 PM IST
- Though Indian and Chinese soldiers fired 100-200 rounds of 'warning shots' on the North Bank of Pangong Lake in early September, the past five or six days have not seen any aggressive moves by the Chinese
NEW DELHI : A temporary truce between India and China seems possible as a diplomat may join military commanders for the next round of talks between the two countries to bring down tensions at the border, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday.
Though Indian and Chinese soldiers fired 100-200 rounds of "warning shots" on the North Bank of Pangong Lake in early September, the past five or six days have not seen any aggressive moves by the Chinese along the Line of Actual control border in Ladakh, where tensions have been running high since early May, the person cited above said.
The firing of warning shots– first reported in the Indian Express on Wednesday -- happened when Indian soldiers were trying to establish a post overlooking Chinese soldiers on the north bank of the Pangong Tso lake, the person cited above said. The north bank of Pangong Tso is where Chinese troops have ensconced themselves at the heights of Finger 4, one of eight mountain spurs jutting out into the lake.
There was another instance of firing happened last week when Chinese troops tried to approach Indian positions on the south Bank of Pangong Tso lake and fired shots in the air. Both the north and south banks of the lake are at the centre of the ongoing border standoff between India and China, and among the friction points where both Indian and Chinese soldiers are ranged against each other – separated by some hundreds of 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 in a joint statement said they would "continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance, ease tensions and work towards new confidence-building measures."
The person cited above said that since the Jaishankar-Wang meeting, there were no aggressive moves from the Chinese side.
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 were finalized as yet, the first person cited above said.
The talks could see a diplomat joining the discussions, a second person familiar with the matter said adding that a final decision on the matter was still awaited. Separately, diplomats of the two countries under the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) were also expected to meet soon, the second person added.
A measure of 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 Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh to parliament on Tuesday in which he pinned the blame for the tensions on Chinese massive mobilization of troops since April and repeated attempts at intrusion into India by Chinese troops. India, Singh said, wanted to resolve the border tensions through talks but warned that India would safeguard its sovereignty and integrity.