External affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi have agreed to set up a hotline for timely communication in the wake of last year’s border crisis even as the Indian minister insisted that it was necessary for the two countries to disengage at all friction points in eastern Ladakh in order to achieve de-escalation of forces in the sector.

In a statement this morning, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) gave details of the 75-minute telephonic conversation Mr Jaishankar had with Mr Wang last night. The marathon conversation between the two ministers took place on a day when India and Pakistan agreed to cease firing along the Line of Control (LoC).

Mr Jaishankar discussed the situation along the LAC in eastern Ladakh with Mr Wang and also issues related to overall India-China relations. He referred to his meeting with Mr Wang in September 2020 in Moscow at which the Indian side had expressed its concern on provocative behaviour and unilateral attempts by China to alter the status quo.

The Chinese minister noted that the Indian side had proposed ‘three mutuals’ (mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests) as the approach to the ties.

Mr Jaishankar noted that bilateral ties have been impacted severely over the last year, adding that the boundary question might take time to resolve but disturbance of peace and tranquility, including by violence, would inevitably have a damaging impact on the relationship. Mr Jaishankar emphasised that both sides should now quickly resolve the remaining issues along the LAC.

He said that once disengagement was completed at all friction points, the two sides could look at broader de-escalation of troops in the area and work towards restoration of peace .