- Foreign Minister Jaishankar spoke to China counterpart over Ladakh clash
- Development to have impact on bilateral ties, said S Jaishankar
- Both ministers signed off on a note of de-escalating tension
Chinese soldiers took “pre-meditated and planned action” that was directly responsible for Monday’s clash at Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, in which 20 Indian soldiers died, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar told his China counterpart Wang Yi in a phone conversation today, the first since the massive escalation in border hostilities. The Foreign Minister underlined that the unprecedented development “will have a serious impact on the bilateral relationship” and China had to reassess its actions and take corrective steps. Both ministers signed off on a note of de-escalating tension, saying “Neither side would take any action to escalate matters and instead, ensure peace and tranquility as per bilateral agreements and protocols.”
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At the conclusion of the discussion, it was agreed that the overall situation would be handled in a responsible manner, and both sides would implement the disengagement understanding of 6 June sincerely.
“The Chinese side took pre-meditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties. It reflected an intent to change the facts on ground in violation of all our agreements to not change the status quo,” Mr Jaishankar said, underlining that this “unprecedented development” will have a serious impact on the bilateral relationship.
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi has urged India to “severely punish those responsible for conflict and control its frontline troops,” reported news agency Reuters — a statement that reflects Beijing’s stance that Indian soldiers crossed into Chinese territory, violating the understanding between the two nations.
In a new statement earlier today, China said it wanted to avoid further clashes and India should “strictly restrain frontline troops, not illegally cross the border, not make provocative gestures, not take any unilateral actions that will complicate the border situation”.
India has blamed the clashes on “an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there,” rebutting China’s claims. In the statement, made late on Tuesday evening, India also said it remained committed to peace on the border with China and always operated on its side of the Line of Actual Control.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Modi, at a meeting with Chief Ministers, said the sacrifice of the soldiers will not go in vain. In a strong message to China, he added, “No one should be in any doubt. India wants peace but when provoked, it is capable of giving a fitting reply, be it any situation”.
The clash took place on Monday evening as an Indian patrol party tried to remove a Chinese tent at Ladakh’s icy Galwan Valley, located nearly 15,000 feet above the sea level. The fight started after the Chinese soldiers targeted Colonel BL Santosh Babu, who was commanding the patrol party. Both sides were armed with batons and rods with nails. Several soldiers fell into the river during the clash.
Army sources have told NDTV that around 45 Chinese soldiers have been killed or injured in the massive escalation at border — a first in nearly five decades. .
Face-offs with China have been on for more than a month across several parts of Ladakh and Sikkim. In early May, the two sides came to blows near Pangong Lake — a situation that coincided with an increase in Chinese patrol in the area over land and water. After the Pangong Lake incident, commanders from both sides worked out a system of disengagement.
PM Modi has called an all-party virtual meeting on Friday to discuss the situation at the India-China border. Presidents of various political parties will participate in the meeting at 5 pm, the Prime Minister’s Office said this morning.
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