New Delhi: India on Thursday said it expects China to work with it “sincerely” for “complete” disengagement and de-escalation in eastern Ladakh as decided by their Special Representatives last month even as Army Chief Gen MM Naravane reviewed the force’s preparedness along the Line of Actual Control(LAC) in Arunachal sector.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava while replying to questions on the face-off in eastern Ladakh referred to decisions taken by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on complete disengagement of troops along the Line of Actual Control(LAC) during their telephonic talks on July 5. Doval and Wang are Special Representatives for boundary talks.
“The two Special Representatives had agreed that early and complete disengagement of the troops along the LAC and de-escalation from India-China border areas in accordance with bilateral agreement and protocols and full restoration of peace and tranquility was essential for the smooth overall development of bilateral relations,” Srivastava said.
He said India remains committed to this objective.
“We also expect that the Chinese side will work with us sincerely for complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas,” he said.
Srivastava’s comments came amid indications that disengagement of Chinese People’s Liberation Army(PLA) in eastern Ladakh has not moved forward since mid-July in friction points like Pangong Tso and Depsang as wanted by India.
Asked whether India was reviewing operation of China’s Confucius Institutes in India, he said the government has laid down specific guidelines for such centres and indicated that any violation of norms may invite action.
He said the MEA had in 2009 issued detailed guidelines for establishment and functioning of foreign cultural centres and these norms apply to any cultural centre that is supported or sponsored by an autonomous foreign organisation, including any Confucius Centre.
“Under these guidelines, approval of MEA is required for any MoU/agreement that such centres might wish to enter into with an Indian organisation. Naturally, if any Indian institution were to enter into or has entered into an arrangement which would come under the purview of these guidelines, then it would require the approval of the government,” he added.
“And as a corollary if the approval was not taken when establishing such centres then it was not in conformity with the guidelines,” he said.
Amid China’s aggressive posturing along the LAC, India has initiated several measures against Chinese entities.
In June, the government banned 59 China-based apps. It was followed by a ban on 47 more Chinese apps which primarily acted as clones of some of the banned apps.
Gen Naravane visited the Army’s Tezpur-based headquarters 4 Corps and carried out a comprehensive review of its preparedness along the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh, official sources said.
The Army chief was given a detailed briefing by senior army officials about deployment of troops and weaponry along the LAC, the de-facto border between India and China.
In view of the tense border row with China in eastern Ladakh, the army has significantly ramped up deployment of troops in all sensitive areas along the nearly 3,500-km-long LAC including in the Arunachal and Sikkim sectors.
With the disengagement process not moving forward, the army is preparing to maintain the current strength of troops and weapons along the LAC during the winter months as well, the sources said.
“The Army Chief carried out a comprehensive review of military preparedness in the Arunachal sector,” said a source.
The 4 Corps based in Assam’s Tezpur town is tasked to keep a vigil on the LAC in Arunachal sector.
Gen Naravane is scheduled to return to Delhi on Friday.
India and China have held several rounds of diplomatic and military talks aimed at disengagement of troops from friction points in eastern Ladakh.
On August 2, the two armies held the fifth round of Corps commander-level talks with an aim to expedite the disengagement process.
At the talks, the Indian side insisted on complete disengagement of Chinese troops at the earliest and immediate restoration of status quo ante in all areas of eastern Ladakh prior to May 5 when the standoff began following a clash between the two armies in Pangong Tso.
The Chinese PLA has pulled back from Galwan Valley and certain other friction points but the withdrawal of troops has not moved forward from the Finger areas in Pangong Tso since mid-July, sources said.
India has been insisting that China must withdraw its forces from areas between Finger Four and Eight. The mountain spurs in the area are referred to as Fingers.
The formal process of disengagement of troops began on July 6, a day after Doval and Wang held telephonic talks
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