Amid heightened tensions over border clashes in eastern Ladakh, India and China have agreed that the overall situation would be handled in a responsible manner and both sides would implement the disengagement understanding of June 6 sincerely.
It was also agreed that neither side would take any action to escalate matters and ensure peace as per bilateral agreements and protocols.
The decisions were taken in a telephonic conversation between Foreign minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi – a first since Monday night’s violence at Galwan Valley in Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers died.
In a strong message, Jaishankar told Yi that what happened in Galwan valley was “pre-meditated” and “planned action” by China which was responsible for the sequence of events.
EAM S Jaishankar underlined that this unprecedented development will have a serious impact on the bilateral relationship and stressed that the need of the hour was for the Chinese side to reassess its actions and take corrective steps.
Jaishankar further noted that the two sides should scrupulously and sincerely implement the understanding reached by senior commanders on June 6.
“Troops of both sides should also abide by bilateral agreements and protocols. They should strictly respect and observe LAC and shouldn’t take any unilateral action to alter it,” the MEA quoted the foreign minister as saying over the call.
Chinese foreign ministry in a statement said that Beijing and Delhi have agreed to resolve the border clash in a “fair way” and de-escalate tensions as soon as possible.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his phone call with Jaishankar further urged India to “severely punish” those responsible for the conflict at Galwan valley and “control” its frontline troops.
China on Wednesday continued to send mixed signals with its support for peaceful resolution of the standoff in Ladakh on the one hand, and laying claim on the Galwan valley on the other.
Earlier in the day, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the country does not wish to see more clashes along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) but stressed that the sovereignty of the Galwan valley area has always belonged to China.
Lijian, told reporters on Wednesday that both China and India “agree to resolve this matter through dialogue and consultation and make efforts to eases the situation and safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border area.”
While New Delhi has admitted that 20 Indian Army soldiers, including an officer, were killed in action during the violent clashes with the Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on Monday night, Lijian remained tight-lipped about the number of casualties on the side of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Instead, Lijian repeated his government’s claim that the clash was “provoked” by the Indian soldiers and China has lodged its strong protest with the Indian side.
He alleged that the Indian border troops “flip-flopped” and “seriously violated” China’s border protocols on border-related issues and the consensus of commander-level talks.
Further, Beijing asked India to “strictly discipline its frontline troops, stop infringing and provocative activity at once, work with China and come back to the right track of resolving differences through dialogue and talks”.
Claiming that the clashes happened on the Chinese side of LAC, the spokesperson said China is not to be blamed for the incident, while referring to the massacre of Indian soldiers.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry also stated that “China and India are in close communication on resolving relevant issues through both diplomatic and military channels.”
An unprecedented violent clash took place in Galwan Valley at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh with Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers attacking a small group of Indian Army men on patrol, resulting in fatalities which included the commanding officer of the Indian Army.
As many as 20 Indian Armymen including officers were killed in the face-off while the the Chinese side is learnt to have suffered over 40 casualties including dead and seriously injured.
India had earlier hit out at China for “unilaterally” attempting to change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh, which led to the killings of troops of both the countries in a violent clash on Monday night.
According to an AFP report, the soldiers were not shot but were killed in hand-to-hand combat on Indian territory. The soldiers threw punches and stones at each other and the Chinese troops allegedly used rods and nail-studded clubs during the fight that lasted for hours until midnight on Monday.
India has blamed the clashes on “an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there”, rebutting China’s claims that Indian soldiers crossed the border.
In the statement, made late on Tuesday evening, India said it remained committed to peace on the border with China and had always operated on its side of the Line of Actual Control.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the sacrifice of the soldiers will not go in vain. Further, in a strong message to China, he said, “No one should be in any doubt. India wants peace but when provoked, it is capable of giving a fitting reply, be it any situation”.