China’s claims come ahead of another meeting of senior military commanders expected to be convened this week
China’s envoy has called for both countries to expedite work on measures to build mutual trust and confidence
The border dispute between India and China simmered on Monday with China’s envoy to India Sun Weidong reiterating Beijing’s claims that New Delhi had illegally crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries to change the status quo.
The comments from the Chinese embassy in New Delhi came days after the foreign ministers of the two countries—S. Jaishankar of India and Wang Yi of China—met in Moscow and seemed to have worked out a temporary truce. It comes ahead of another meeting of senior military commanders expected this week to work out a disengagement plan.
Tensions mounted since May when India discovered intrusions by China’s People’s Liberation Army at multiple locations in Ladakh in violation of pacts signed since 1993. A violent clash between troops, the first in 45 years, led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese personnel on 15 June in Galwan. Another flare-up happened recently when India said Chinese troops fired shots after Indian soldiers took vantage positions on five strategic mountains within the Indian side of the LAC on 29-30 August. In his comments, Sun said that Jaishankar and Wang had agreed that the two countries must “ease tensions, maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas, continue diplomatic communication and expedite work to conclude new confidence-building measures."
“It (the meeting) is an important step in the right direction, and will provide political impetus to ease the border situation and promote the bilateral relations," he said.
Indian public opinion, in general, was positive about the Jaishankar-Wang meeting, during which the two countries “demonstrated the political will to resolve the border situation", Sun said.
During the meeting, Wang had told Jaishankar that as neighbours India and China were bound to have differences. “What is important is to put these differences in a proper context vis-a-vis bilateral relations," Sun said. India and China should see the other as a partner and a developmental opportunity, not as a strategic threat, he said.
Sun’s comments follow India banning 118 Chinese mobile phone apps and barring Chinese investments in roads, telecom and other areas. Beijing’s position is that New Delhi should meet it halfway, which is seen as a demand that India accept the new Chinese claim lines but not impose any punitive measures. New Delhi has insisted that Chinese troops move back to positions they held in April.
Sun said that “what China and India need right now is cooperation, not confrontation; we need 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."