New Delhi: The overall situation at friction points in eastern Ladakh remains unchanged and continues to be tense, four days after foreign ministers of India and China agreed on a five-point plan to resolve the prolonged border standoff, government sources said on Monday.
The sources also said both the Indian and Chinese troops are firmly holding onto their respective positions at the Line of Actual Control(LAC).
They said while the situation in the region continues to be tense no fresh movement of Chinese troops was witnessed.
The Indian Army will not lower its guard and will maintain the current state of very high-level of combat readiness in eastern Ladakh till there are visible changes in the ground situation, the sources added.
The sources said the date for the much-anticipated Corps commander-level talks between the two armies is yet to be firmed up but it is likely to take place in the next few days.
The military talks are expected to focus on implementation of certain provisions of the five-point consensus to ease tensions.
India and China reached an agreement to resolve their border row at a meeting between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow last Thursday on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet.
The agreement included measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the LAC.
It also mentioned that the two sides should expedite work to conclude “new confidence building measures” to enhance peace and tranquillity in the border areas. However, the agreement has not mentioned any timeline for disengagement of troops.
Meanwhile, Chinese envoy Sun Weidong, referring to consensus reached during previous talks between leaders of the two countries, said both sides should “pursue win-win cooperation” instead of “zero-sum game”.
“I hope and believe that as long as the two sides earnestly implement the consensus reached by the two foreign ministers to the front-line troops and adhere to the correct means of dialogue and negotiation, the two sides will find a way to overcome the current difficulties,” Sun was quoted as saying by the Chinese embassy. He was commenting on the Jaishankar-Wang talks.
The envoy further said: “As long as the two sides keep moving the relationship in the right direction building on the previous achievements, there will be no difficulty or challenge that can’t be overcome.”
The five-point consensus at the Jaishankar-Wang talks came days after a fresh confrontation between the two armies early last week in eastern Ladakh that triggered a massive military build up by both sides in almost all friction points along the LAC.
The Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army(PLA) have been locked in a tense standoff in multiple areas along the LAC in eastern Ladakh since early May. Shots were fired across the LAC on Monday last for the first time in 45 years with the two sides accusing each other of firing in the air.
In the five rounds of the Corps commander-level talks, the Indian side has been insisting on immediate restoration of status quo ante in all areas of eastern Ladakh prior to April. The face-off in eastern Ladakh erupted on May 6.
At the Jaishankar-Wang talks, the Indian delegation highlighted its strong concern over amassing of troops and military equipment by China along the LAC besides referring to “provocative behaviour” by Chinese army personnel at numerous incidents of friction.
The Indian side clearly conveyed that it expected full adherence to all agreements on management of border areas and would not countenance any attempt to change the status quo unilaterally, according to the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA).
Last week, the Army further bolstered its dominance over a number of strategic heights overlooking key Chinese-held positions around the Pangong lake area in eastern Ladakh
Defence Minister Likely To Make Statement In Parliament
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to make a statement in Parliament on Tuesday on the continuing standoff between Indian and Chinese troops along the LAC in eastern Ladakh, Parliamentary sources said.
The statement would assume significance in the backdrop of demands made by the Opposition for a debate on the issue.
Singh had met his Chinese counterpart Gen Wei Fenghe in Moscow recently.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi had also met in Moscow a few days ago.
Meanwhile, the Union Cabinet and the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs are also likely to meet over video conferencing on Tuesday afternoon, government sources said.
During the monsoon session, which began on Monday, the opposition is seeking to corner the government on its handling of the standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, the COVID-19 situation, economic downturn and unemployment, and is pressing for discussions on these issues.
The Congress and other opposition parties raised these demands in the first business advisory committee (BAC) meeting for Lok Sabha chaired by Speaker Om Birla on Sunday, but no time has been allocated yet for these discussions.
The BAC for Lok Sabha will be held again on Tuesday afternoon to further discuss the first week’s business schedule.
Similar demands have been raised by the Congress in the BAC for Rajya Sabha as well.
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