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India-China troop disengagement in Ladakh

India and China have agreed on a five-point roadmap including quick disengagement of troops and avoiding any action that could escalate tensions for resolving the four-month-long face-off in eastern Ladakh.

As the two countries reached the agreement during the talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Thursday evening, government sources said the Indian side strongly raised the deployment of large number of troops and military equipment by China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh and conveyed its concern. The Chinese side could not provide a credible explanation for the troops buildup, the sources said on Friday.

Jaishankar and Wang met in Moscow on the sidelines of the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO). The talks–the second highest political contact between the two countries in a week–lasted two-and-a-half-hours. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart Gen. Wei Fenghe had also met in Moscow on Friday on the sidelines of a SCO meet.

Jaishankar underlined that since the resumption of Ambassadorial level relations in 1976 and holding of boundary talks since 1981, India-China relations have developed on a largely positive trajectory. While there have been incidents from time to time, peace and tranquility has largely prevailed in the border areas. As a result, India-China cooperation also developed in a broad range of domains, giving the relationship a more substantive character.

While the Indian side recognized that a solution to the boundary question required time and effort, it was also clear that the maintenance of peace and tranquility on the border areas was essential to the forward development of ties. The recent incidents in eastern Ladakh, however, inevitably impacted the development of the bilateral relationship. Therefore, an urgent resolution of the current situation was in the interest of both nations.

In the meeting, the Indian side highlighted its strong concern at the massing of Chinese troops with equipment along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The presence of such large concentration of troops was not in accordance with the 1993 and 1996 Agreements and created flash points along the LAC. The Chinese side has not provided a credible explanation for this deployment. The provocative behavior of Chinese frontline troops at numerous incidents of friction along the LAC also showed disregard for bilateral agreements and protocols.

The Indian side clearly conveyed that it expected full adherence to all agreements on management of border areas and would not countenance any attempt to change the status quo unilaterally. It was also emphasized that the Indian troops had scrupulously followed all agreements and protocols pertaining to the management of the border areas.

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