India-China Border Tensions Live | Foreign Ministers Hold Talks, Agree To Not Escalate Galwan Conflict
India and China held talks over the phone today in an attempt to de-escalate a border conflict in eastern Ladakh where clashes between troops saw 20 Indian soldiers killed.
“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 June 6 sincerely,” India's Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
“Neither side would take any action to escalate matters and instead, ensure peace and tranquillity as per bilateral agreements and protocols,” the statement said.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that India wants peace, but will retaliate if provoked.
On Tuesday, the Indian Army said that 20 soldiers were killed in action in a “violent face-off” with their Chinese counterparts in the Galwan Valley. The two armies have now disengaged.
The nuclear-armed neighbours were engaged in talks to de-escalate the six-week-long standoff in the Himalayan region. While India was expecting things to unfold smoothly, the Chinese side departed from the consensus and did not respect the Line of Actual Control, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry on its part has claimed it was two Indian soldiers who crossed into Chinese territory twice on Monday.
India, China Foreign Ministries Hold Talks Over Phone
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had a telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the recent developments in Ladakh, India's foreign ministry said in a statement.
India has underlined that the “unprecedented” development will have a serious impact on the bilateral relationship of the countries, the statement said. “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 June 6 sincerely.”
“Neither side would take any action to escalate matters and instead, ensure peace and tranquillity as per bilateral agreements and protocols,” the statement by the Ministry of External Affairs said.
The statement said that after a meeting of senior military commanders on June 6, an agreement was reached for de-esclation along the Line of Actual Control.
“While there was some progress, the Chinese side sought to erect a structure in Galwan valley on our side of the LAC. While this became a source of dispute, 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,” the statement said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry, too, has agreed that both sides will tackle the confrontation in a fair manner, Bloomberg reported citing an official statement.
The two countries should resolve the issue through existing communication channels, it said.
However, the statement said that the situation shouldn't be an underestimation of China’s determination to safeguard its sovereignty, Bloomberg reported.
India Wants Peace But Will Retaliate If Provoked: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the border tensions with China ahead of his meeting with state Chief Ministers on the Covid-19 pandemic. “India wants peace, but is capable of giving a befitting reply if instigated,” he said.
Here are the highlights of his address:
- India has always cooperated with neighbours and tried to ensure that differences don't turn into disputes
- At the same time, we will never compromise on the nation's unity and sovereignty
- Want to assure the nation that our soldiers' sacrifice won't go to waste
- No one can stop us from protecting India's unity and sovereignty
- India wants peace, but if provoked, we are capable of giving a befitting reply
PM Modi Calls For An All Party Meet
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has convened an all-party meeting on June 19 to discuss the situation in India-China border areas. Presidents of various political parties are expected to attend the virtual meeting.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Reacts
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh takes to twitter to offer condolences to the families of the fallen soldiers.
U.S. 'Closely monitoring' India-China Border Row
The U.S. is “closely monitoring” the situation following a fierce clash between Indian and Chinese forces in eastern Ladakh, and hopes that the differences will be resolved peacefully, a senior State Department official said.
“We are closely monitoring the situation between Indian and Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control,” the State Department spokesperson said on Monday. “We note the Indian military has announced that 20 soldiers have died, and we offer our condolences to their families.”
Both India and China have expressed their desires to de-escalate and the U.S. supports a peaceful resolution of the current situation, the spokesperson said.