File photo. India and China are separated by the Line of Actual Control in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. Photo: PTI

Mint Business News - Official Channel

China says situation "stable and controllable" at India border


NEW DELHI : China on Wednesday said that the situation at the border with India is "overall stable and controllable," and both the countries have proper mechanisms and communication channels to resolve the issues through a dialogue and consultation.

The comments came against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the two countries with multiple incidents of physical fights between troops of both sides coming to light along the 3,488 kilometre long Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, during a media briefing in Beijing said: “Between the two countries, we have good border related mechanism and communication channels. We are capable of resolving the issues properly though dialogue and consultation," he said, confirming reports that the diplomatic efforts were on to ease the border tensions."

These efforts were taking place through established border related mechanisms and diplomatic channels.

“This includes the communication between border troops and between our diplomatic missions," he added.

"We are committed to safeguarding our territorial sovereignty and security, and safeguarding peace and stability in the border areas. Now the China-India border area situation is overall stable and controllable," Zhao said.

"We have been following the important consensus reached by the two leaders and strictly observing the agreements between the two countries," Zhao said, in an apparent reference to the directions of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi after their two informal summits in 2018 and in 2019. The two leaders had then asked their militaries to take more confidence building measures to maintain peace and tranquility along the borders.

In New Delhi, Chinese ambassador to India, Sun Weidong was quoted as saying that “we should never let differences overshadow our relations. We should resolve differences through communication."

“China & India are fighting together against #COVID19 & we have an important task to consolidate relations. Our youth should realise the relation between China & India, the 2 countries are opportunities for each other and pose no threat," Sun was quoted as saying by ANI news agency.

The remarks from the Zhao and Sun came a day after President Xi ordered the Chinese military to scale up the battle preparedness and asked it to resolutely defend the country's sovereignty.

According to a person familiar with developments, several rounds of talks between representatives of the militaries of the two countries had not yielded any results. Besides the diplomatic missions, the two sides were also working through the “Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC)" which is led by a joint secretary level officer in the Indian foreign ministry and his Chinese counterpart. The WMCC was set up in January 2012 after border talks between then National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon and his Chinese counterpart Dai Bingguo. The last meeting of the mechanism was in July 2019.

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.

India has said the Chinese military was hindering normal patrolling by its troops along the LAC in Ladakh and Sikkim and strongly refuted Beijing's contention that the escalating tension between the two armies was triggered by trespassing of Indian forces across the Chinese side.

India’s foreign ministry said all Indian activities were carried out on its side of the border, asserting that India has always taken a very responsible approach towards border management. At the same time, it said, India was deeply committed to protect its sovereignty and security.

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