In yet another significant development, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi met in Moscow on Thursday on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Foreign Minister’s meet. They discussed the situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and after two and half hours of talks agreed to disengage and de-escalate the situation on the common frontier which has been in news for quite some time.
It was on 17th June that the two ministers talked last on the telephone in the immediate aftermath of the killing of 20 Indian soldiers. According to a joint statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, Jaishankar and Wang negotiated in a ‘frank and constructive’ way regarding the developments in the India-China border as well as on India-China relations as a whole. The two sides aspired to ensure that border differences do not become disputes.
The two sides reached a consensus that the present situation of hostility was not in the interest of either side. “They agreed therefore that the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions,” the MEA statement said.
They agreed that both sides should follow the existing agreements and protocols the two countries have regarding boundary affairs and, while maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas, avoid any provocation that could escalate matters. They further agreed to maintain dialogue through the special representative mechanism created to cater to the India-China boundary question. In this context, the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs (WMCC) was also mentioned and consensus was reached to maintain its vitality.
According to the Chinese embassy, “the two sides reached a five-point consensus” in relation to the present situation after a ‘full, in-depth discussion’.
Earlier the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China had an hour-and-half long lunch meeting which was presided by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. A joint statement released after the Russia-India-China meeting said the representatives of the three countries exchanged notes on further strengthening the trilateral cooperation as well as on issues of international and regional importance, in the spirit of mutual understanding, friendship and trust.
Last week the Defence Ministers of the two countries met in Moscow to ease tension on the border.
Incidentally the forces of the two countries exchanged fire for the first time in 45 years between these two crucial meetings. It remains to be seen how fruitful these meetings turn out to be.