New Delhi: India on Thursday stated that there should be “complete disengagement” at all friction points, with special emphasis on Pangong Tso Lake, even as China reiterated that the “pressing need” was for New Delhi to “correct its mistake” and disengage its troops.
The differing emphasis between the two sides is especially stark after the foreign ministers met at Moscow on September 10 and agreed on five principles that are supposed to guide their approach to the ongoing stand-off in eastern Ladakh.
At the weekly briefing on Thursday, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that following the Moscow consensus, both countries should “focus on easing tensions in the friction areas by refraining from any actions that may lead to an escalation in the situation”.
“The Chinese side should sincerely work with the Indian side for complete disengagement at the earliest from all friction areas including Pangong Lake as well as de-escalation in border areas in accordance with the bilateral agreements and protocols on maintenance of peace and tranquility in border areas,” he said.
Indian and Chinese troops have clashed on the north and south banks of the lake, which straddles the LAC. Shots had also been fired on multiple occasions this month, according to several reports.
He added that China should “strictly respect and observe the Line of Actual Control and not make further attempts to unilaterally change status quo”.
Earlier in the day, defence minister Rajnath Singh had issued a statement that India-China skirmishes had been over patrolling disputes and that New Delhi wants restoration of the traditional patrolling pattern of its military in that area.
The Chinese side, meanwhile, asserted for the second consecutive day that India will have to take the first step.
“Like I said in my reply to Indian correspondents yesterday, the Chinese border troops have always strictly observed the relevant agreements between the two countries and are committed to safeguarding China’s territorial sovereignty and maintaining peace and stability in the border areas. What is pressing now is that the Indian side should immediately correct its mistake, disengage on the ground as soon as possible and take concrete actions to ease the tension and lower the temperature along the border,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Thursday in Beijing.
At the meeting in Moscow, the two ministers had decided that ground commanders would hold further round of talks, but no dates have been confirmed so far.