The Government on Thursday invoked a plethora of bilateral agreements signed by India and China to resolve border related issues, as the standoff between the soldiers of the two sides continued along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh.
Praising the defence forces, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Anurag Srivastava, at a virtual media briefing said that Indian troops take a very responsible approach towards border management and strictly follow the procedures laid out in various bilateral agreements and protocols with China to resolve any issue that may arise in the border areas.
“Our armed forces scrupulously follow the consensus reached by our leaders and the guidance provided,” he said, adding that India is committed to the objective of maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas with China.
Since 1993, he said, India and China have signed several bilateral agreements and protocols to ensure peace and tranquility in the border areas.
Srivastava recalled that the two countries signed an Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China border areas in 1993; Agreement on Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field along the LAC in 1996; Protocol on Modalities for the implementation of the Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field along the LAC in 2005; Agreement on the establishment of a working mechanism for consultation and coordination on India-China Border Affairs in 2012; and the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement in 2013.
The two sides, he said, have established mechanisms both at the military and diplomatic levels to resolve situations which may arise in the border areas peacefully through dialogue, and continue to remain engaged through these channels. At the same time, India, he said, remains firm in its resolve to ensuring the country’s sovereignty and national security.
This comes a day after US President Donald Trump made a surprise mediation offer in the issue.
“We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute. Thank you!,” President Trump tweeted on Wednesday.
In a carefully crafted reaction to Trump’s offer to arbitrate, India has said it was engaged with China to peacefully resolve the border row.
While the Chinese Foreign Ministry is yet to react to Trump’s tweet which appears to have caught Beijing by surprise, an op-ed in the state-run Global Times said both countries did not need such help from the US president.
“The latest dispute can be solved bilaterally by China and India. The two countries should keep alert on the US, which exploits every chance to create waves that jeopardize regional peace and order,” it said.
Trump’s unexpected offer came on a day when China took an apparently conciliatory tone by saying that the situation at the border with India is “overall stable and controllable.”
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday that both China and India have proper mechanisms and communication channels to resolve the issues through dialogue and consultations.
Several areas along the LAC in Ladakh and North Sikkim have witnessed major military build-up by both the Indian and Chinese armies recently, in a clear signal of escalating tension and hardening of respective positions by the two sides even two weeks after they were engaged in two separate face-offs.
The nearly 3,500-km-long LAC is the de-facto border between the two countries.
Indian and Chinese troops have remained engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation in several areas along the LAC in eastern Ladakh, signalling that the standoff could become the biggest military face-off after the Doklam crisis in 2017.
(With inputs from IANS)