New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that the need of the hour was for the Chinese side to reassess its actions and take corrective steps.
In a telephonic talk, Jaishankar said that Chinese should strictly respect and observe the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and not take any unilateral action to alter it. It was agreed that both sides would implement the dis-engagement understanding the agreement of June 6 sincerely. Neither side would take any action to escalate matters and instead ensure peace and tranquility as per bilateral agreements and protocols, said a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
The two sides are in regular touch through their respective embassies and foreign offices. At the ground level the two sides have maintained communication at the commanders’ level. Meetings of other established diplomatic mechanisms such as Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs (WMCC) are under discussion.
The statement said that India and China have been discussing through military and diplomatic channels the de-escalation of the situation in the border area in Eastern Ladakh.
“While it was our expectation that this would unfold smoothly, the Chinese side departed from the consensus to respect the LAC in the Galwan valley,” it said, adding that the Chinese took premeditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties suffered by both sides. This could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side.
Given its responsible approach to border management, India is very clear that all its activities are always within the Indian side of the LAC. “We expect the Chinese side to also confine its activities to its side of the LAC,” it said.
However, in a report from Beijing, Chinese foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian parried questions about the brutal attack carried out by its troops on the Indian soldiers with iron rods and spikes on June 15, declining to respond to queries on reports of it building a dam on the Galwan river at the Sino-Indian border to obstruct its flow.
Zhao Lijian in his media briefing skirted questions for a second consecutive day about the casualties suffered by the Chinese troops in their clash with the Indian soldiers at the Galwan Valley on June 15 night.
Asked about allegations that Col Santosh Babu and other Indian soldiers were brutally attacked with iron rods and spikes by Chinese soldiers and whether the confrontation started when the Indian troops arrived to demolish structures set up by China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Zhao reiterated China’s allegation, squarely blaming the Indian troops for the incident.
“The right and wrong of this case is very clear and responsibility doesn’t lie with the Chinese side,” he said, adding that China has provided the details of the case.
India has trashed China’s claim of sovereignty over the Galwan Valley, saying such “exaggerated” and “untenable” claims are contrary to the understanding reached during a high-level military dialogue on June 6.
China’s foreign ministry as well as the military this week claimed that the Galwan Valley has always been a part of the country.