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Diplomatic talks on, but government sceptical of China

NEW DELHI: India and China got down to the hard business of diplomatic negotiations to resolve the issue of Chinese intrusions and military build-up in eastern Ladakh with

the ministry of external affairs

saying both sides promised to “implement the understanding on disengagement and de-escalation that was reached by senior commanders on June 6”, reports Indrani Bagchi.

While the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs met, there is no illusion in the highest levels of the

Indian government

about the Chinese disengaging in any meaningful manner. Senior figures in government regard the current crisis as more serious than

Doklam

. China, they believe, wants to fundamentally change the way India sees itself and how it deals with the world, by forcibly changing status quo on the ground.

China blames India but MEA maintains a restrained stand

At the diplomatic level, however, the two sides emphasised the importance of respecting the LAC. Naveen Srivastava, joint secretary in MEA, and Hong Liang, director general in the Chinese foreign ministry, held discussions as part of the WMCC. In an official readout, the MEA said, “The Indian side conveyed its concerns on the recent developments in eastern Ladakh, including on the violent face-off in Galwan Valley area on June 15 that had resulted in casualties.” In

Beijing

, China openly blamed India for both the clashes as well as intrusions.

The MEA statement was more restrained, saying both sides promised to implement disengagement. Earlier, the MEA spokesperson had pushed back against Chinese claims on the Galwan Valley, which, he said, was “historically clear”. “Attempts by the Chinese side to now advance exaggerated and untenable claims with regard to Line of Actual Control there are not acceptable,” he said.

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25th June 2020