MEA takes hope from consensus at navy commanders’ assembly

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 24

India on Thursday highlighted the fact that the latest meeting of military commanders had led to a joint press release. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) interpreted it as reflecting the “stated commitment of both sides to disengage along the LAC”. 

While noting that this is the first joint press release after any Senior Commanders’ meeting, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava also noted that the meeting took place after nearly 50 days.

The latest Senior Commanders’ meeting was critical to ensure stability on the ground at a time when troops are about to undertake disengagement which is a complex process requiring redeployment towards regular posts on the respective sides of the LAC, said Srivastava.

The meeting had undertaken not to add to troops’ strength on the border and not to unilaterally change the status quo of the border. These steps were essential in view of two past instances of extreme aggression that led to shots being fired on the LAC for the first time in 45 years.

The MEA also noted that the Senior Commanders’ meeting took place against the backdrop of two high level Sino-India Ministerial meetings in Moscow on September 4 and 10. The September 10 Foreign Ministers’ meeting, which had produced a joint statement as well as two different interpretations of the outcome by India and China, had expressed the desire to continue the dialogue and ensure quick and comprehensive disengagement in all the friction areas.

It is unusual for the Foreign Office to comment on the meeting of Senior Military Commanders although the last round of talks was not a purely military affair and included representation from the MEA.

After summarising the consensus achieved at that meeting, Srivastava hoped the way ahead will be to refrain from making any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo, while the two sides continue their discussions to achieve complete disengagement in all friction areas.

In this regard, he said, the two sides have also decided to have the next meeting of the Senior Commanders at the earliest as well as hold in parallel a meeting of the inter-Ministerial MEA-led Working Mechanism on Consultation and Coordination.

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