India on Thursday said that it looked forward to the next senior commander-level meeting with China at an early date to achieve the objective of complete disengagement on all friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
Responding to queries about working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) meeting held on May 31, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said both sides agreed to continue discussions through diplomatic and military channels to resolve the remaining issues.
“WMCC India-China border talks happened on May 31st, I don’t have much to add to it. To be honest, as in our press release, we said that as instructed by our two Foreign Ministers, both sides agreed to continue discussions through diplomatic and military channels to resolve the remaining issues, so as to create conditions for the restoration of normalcy in bilateral relations. We have been saying this repeatedly,” he said.
“What is important is that they agreed to hold the Senior Commander-level talks at an early date to achieve the objective of complete disengagement on all friction points along the LAC in the Western sector in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols. I am not aware of any particular date that I can share with you at this point. I would like to emphasize that we look forward to this Commander level talk at an early date,” he added.
Following the standoff due to the actions of Chinese Army in eastern Ladakh in April-May 2020, India and China have held several rounds of diplomatic and military talks and have achieved disengagement from some areas but some friction points remain. The two countries have held 15 rounds of Corps Commander-level talks.
Regarding Indian students who are enrolled in Chinese universities and want to go back to complete their study, Bagchi said that India has been “regularly raising the issue of Indian students pursuing medicine from Chinese Universities being unable to return to China to attend classes”.
Answering a query about remarks of External Minister S Jaishankar concerning Quad that there should not be attempt to strait-jacket or impose congruence over convergence for the grouping to keep growing, Bagchi said, the minister made a very simple point he has been talking about – “what Quad stands for, positive approach, agenda, what four countries want to do and he just made a comment that perhaps they shouldn’t be straight-jacketed and seen from a particular prism.”
Answering queries on reports about back-channel talks with Pakistan, he said ……..these were speculative media reports.
“I do not want to comment on it. On dialogue, our consistent position has been that we desire normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in a conducive atmosphere free of terror, hostility and violence. Our respective High Commissions are functioning and are in touch with their interlocutors.
Regarding trade relations with Pakistan, he said, “We never wanted that trade ties should stop, we have always been pushing for it. From our side, we are not holding back on it.” (ANI)