Indian and Chinese foreign ministers exchange protests over clashes in the disputed Himalayan border area. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said China tried to erect a structure inside Indian territory, while China's Wang Yi said Indian troops attacked first. But in a phone call both men promised not to escalate the situation.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in a phone conversation with his Chinese counterpart on Wednesday asked China to “reassess its actions and take corrective steps” in view of the “unprecedented” violence along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
Jaishankar and China’s state councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in a phone conversation on Wednesday afternoon, discussed the situation along the LAC in Galwan valley where 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed in a violent clash on Monday.
The Global Times, mouthpiece of the government in Beijing, however said that the State Councillor of China in his phone call with Jaishankar, asked India to investigate the incident and punish those responsible, and restrain its military forces in the region to prevent any provocative actions.
As per a statement issued by the ministry of external affairs in New Delhi, Jaishankar in his conversation with his counterpart, accused China of taking “pre-meditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties.” It reflected an intent to change the facts on ground in violation of all our agreements to not change the status quo, he said.
Underlining that this “unprecedented development will have a serious impact on the bilateral relationship,” he told Wang that the “need of the hour was for the Chinese side to reassess its actions and take corrective steps.”
Jaishankar conveyed the protest of the government, recalling that at the meeting of senior military commanders on June 6, an agreement had been reached on de-escalation and disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“Ground commanders were meeting regularly to implement this consensus throughout the last week. While there was some progress, the Chinese side sought to erect a structure in Galwan valley on our side of the LAC,” the minister said adding that this became a source of dispute.
The two sides should scrupulously and sincerely implement the understanding that was reached by the senior commanders on June 6, Jaishankar told Wang adding that troops of both the countries should also abide by the bilateral agreements and protocols. “They should strictly respect and observe the line of actual control and should not take any unilateral action to alter it,” Jaishankar told his counterpart.
The phone call concluded with both agreeing that neither side would take any action to escalate the situation. Both agreed that both sides will “ensure peace and tranquillity as per bilateral agreements and protocols and implement the disengagement understanding of June 6 sincerely.” (IANS)