Chinese, Indian foreign ministers agree disengagement on banks of Pangong Lake “a significant first step”
February 26, 2021 12:06 PM NPT
KATHMANDU, Feb 26: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar held a telephone conversation on Thursday.
During the conversation, Chinese Foreign Wang, who is also the state councilor, was of the view that China and India should firmly follow the right path of mutual trust and cooperation between neighboring major countries, and not go astray with suspicion and distrust nor fall back on a road of negative retrogression, according to China's state-run Xinhua News Agency.
Wang stressed the need that the two sides should maintain the strategic consensuses reached by their leaders. During the phone call, he noted that the two countries need to properly handle the border issue, so as to prevent the bilateral ties from trapping into a vicious cycle because of it, according to Xinhua.
Border disputes are an objective reality and need to be attached adequate attention and taken seriously. However, the border issue is not the whole story of China-India relations, and should be placed in a proper position in their relationship.
China and India should also adhere to the general direction that the two major emerging economies work together to achieve development and create conducive conditions to further improve bilateral ties and promote pragmatic cooperation, Wang added.
Wang said that the rights and wrongs of last year's situation in China-India border areas are very clear, and profound lessons should be drawn from the past. Recently, India has vacillated and even moved backward over its policy on China, which has affected and disrupted bilateral pragmatic cooperation, Wang said, noting that it goes against the interests of both sides, according to Xinhua.
Experience over the past few decades has repeatedly demonstrated that acts of highlighting differences will not help resolve the issue, but erode the foundation of mutual trust, he added.
Wang said that China and India have recently completed disengagement of frontline troops in the Pangong Tso Lake area, with the situation on the ground significantly eased.
The two sides must cherish the hard-won progress, jointly consolidate the achievements and maintain the momentum of consultation, so as to further ease the situation, he said.
Both sides should also improve the border control mechanism, advance the boundary negotiation process and continuously accumulate mutual trust to achieve peace and tranquility in the border areas, Wang said.
China and India, both ancient civilizations and major emerging economies at a critical historical stage of development and revitalization, should help and support each other in achieving their goals, Wang said.
He cautioned that a continuing decline of bilateral relations would bring about unnecessary consumption and loss to both sides.
Wang suggested both sides work together instead of blocking each other, and join hands for development instead of building up walls, saying that the two countries can take an easy-to-difficult, step-by-step approach to improving ties.
Jaishankar, on his part, said that the recent disengagement of both troops in the Pangong Tso Lake area is an important outcome of the two sides' earnest implementation of the consensus reached by the two foreign ministers in Moscow.
India hopes to strengthen dialogues and consultations with China, complete disengagement of troops in other regions as soon as possible, push for the de-escalation of the border tensions and keep peace and tranquility in the border areas, he said.
India would act in a view of the long-term development and the panorama of relations with China, implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and get the bilateral ties back on the right track at an early date, Jaishankar added. The two sides agreed to establish a hotline to exchange views timely.
Indian foreign minister referred to the meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister in September 2020 in Moscow where Indian side had expressed its concern on provocative behavior and unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter status quo, according to a press statement issued by India's Ministry of External Affairs. He noted that the bilateral relations have been impacted severely over last year. Jaishankar said that Boundary Question may take time to resolve but disturbance of peace and tranquility including by violence, will inevitably have a damaging impact on the relationship.
"EAM said that during their meeting in Moscow last year, both Ministers had agreed that the situation in the border areas was not in the interest of either side and decided that the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage and ease tensions. EAM noted that the two sides had maintained continuous communication since then through both the diplomatic and military channels. This had led to progress as both sides had successfully disengaged in the Pangong Tso Lake area earlier this month," reads the press statement.