Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 18
India and China held the 20th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) by video conferencing on Friday after a gap of over two and a half months.
At the meeting, both sides decided that they would continue to work towards ensuring complete disengagement in all friction points along the LAC in the Western Sector at the earliest.
They also agreed to hold the next (9th) round of Senior Army Commanders meeting at an early date so that both sides can work towards early and complete disengagement of troops along the LAC in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols, and fully restore peace and tranquillity, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
The Chinese readout said the two sides had “candid and in-depth exchange of views” and agreed on the need to focus on the disengagement of front-line troops and take “concrete measures to deal with the issues on the ground” to further deescalate the border situation.
The Chinese side also welcomed the prospects of an early meeting of Senior Army Commanders to “properly deal with the outstanding issues on the ground”, and jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
In an indication of the stalemate that had crept in over resolving the stand-off in eastern Ladakh, there was no meeting of the WMCC all through October and November although in between, two rounds of Senior Army Commanders’ meetings were held on October 12 and November 6.
This was further indicative of the fact that in-person meetings between foreign ministers and defence ministers of both countries in Moscow in September did not immediately impact the situation though the Jaishankar-Wang meeting had arrived at a five-point consensus.
The Chinese readout referred to this consensus and said both sides agreed to “earnestly implement” it.
On Thursday, MEA official spokesperson had said “it is our expectation that the further discussions will help both sides to achieve an agreement on a mutually acceptable solution for ensuring complete disengagement in all friction points along the LAC in the Western Sector and full restoration of peace and tranquillity as early as possible”.
Joint Secretary of the East Asia Division of MEA Naveen Srivastava and Director-General of the Department of Boundary and Oceanic Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Hong Liang co-chaired the meeting.
Representatives from both countries’ departments related to diplomacy, national defence and interior security attended the meeting.