India and China discuss 5-point plan to ease border tensions
India and China held a fresh round of diplomatic talks under the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination (WMCC). Both nations agreed to implement a five-point plan reached between Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi earlier this month. India and China have been engaged in a border standoff along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh since early-May.
The WMCC meeting was chaired by MEA Joint Secretary (East Asia) Naveen Srivastava and the Director of the Boundary and Maritime Affairs Department in China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hong Liang. This is the fifth round of WMCC talks since the border standoff. During the meeting, both sides held "frank and detailed discussions" on the developments since the last WMCC meeting on August 20.
The Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement, "The two sides attached importance to the meetings between the two defense ministers and the two foreign ministers held earlier this month." "They also noted that the agreement between the two foreign ministers should be sincerely implemented to ensure disengagement at all the friction points along the LAC," the statement added.
Further, both sides reviewed the border situation and agreed to "strengthen communication, especially between the ground commanders." India and China agreed to disengage fast and conclude new confidence-building measures on border affairs. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Beijing will abide by the five-point plan reached during the Jaishankar-Wang meeting held on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Council (SCO) on September 10.
On September 21, India and China held the sixth meeting of senior commanders. During the meeting, both sides agreed to "avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments, stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground." However, on Tuesday, China said it abides by the 1959 perception of LAC, which has been repeatedly rejected by New Delhi.
India and China have been engaged in a border standoff since early-May along the LAC in Ladakh. The row took a turn for the worse when a mid-June clash in Galwan Valley led to the martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers and a disputed number of Chinese troops. The two sides have since held talks on military and diplomatic levels, but the situation remains tense.