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Broader de-escalation of troops once disengagement is completed at all friction points: Jaishankar tells Wang

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New Delhi, Feb 26: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Thursday and discussed the border standoff in eastern Ladakh as well as reviewed the status of disengagement.

S Jaishankar

Releasing details of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar''s 75-minute telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement on Friday that China was told that bilateral relations have been impacted severely over last year.

"EAM said that Boundary Question may take time to resolve but disturbance of peace and tranquillity, including by violence, will inevitably have a damaging impact on the relationship," the ministry said.

Border disputes a reality, should be given sufficient attention: China tells IndiaBorder disputes a reality, should be given sufficient attention: China tells India

The two ministers agreed to remain in touch and establish a hotline, it added.

The two leaders discussed the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh and issues related to overall India-China relations.

Jaishankar referred to their meeting in September 2020 in Moscow where the Indian side had expressed its concern on provocative behaviour and unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter the status quo, according to the MEA statement.

Jaishankar said that during their meeting in Moscow last year they 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.

The EAM noted that the two sides had maintained continuous communication since then through both diplomatic and military channels. This had led to progress as both sides had successfully disengaged in the Pangong lake area earlier this month.

Noting the completion of disengagement in the Pangong lake area, the EAM emphasized that both sides should now quickly resolve the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

Jaishankar told Wang that once disengagement is completed at all friction points, then the two sides could also look at broader de-escalation of troops in the area and work towards restoration of peace and tranquillity.

Wang, on his part, expressed satisfaction at the progress made so far and said it was an important step forward for restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas, according to the MEA statement.

Wang also spoke about the need to improve management and control in the border areas, while Jaishankar highlighted that both sides had always agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas was essential basis for development of bilateral relations.

"A prolongation of the existing situation was not in the interest of either side. It was, therefore, necessary that the two sides should work towards early resolution of remaining issues. It was necessary to disengage at all friction points in order to contemplate de-escalation of forces in this sector. That alone will lead to the restoration of peace and tranquillity and provide conditions for progress of our bilateral relationship," it said.

Wang also noted that the Indian side had proposed "three mutuals" -- mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests -- as the approach to the relationship. He also agreed on the importance of taking the long view of ties between the two neighbours.

At the 10th round of the senior commanders'' meeting least week, India is learnt to have insisted on a faster disengagement process in areas such as Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang to defuse tension in the region.

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