New Delhi/Beijing, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- India and China have agreed to “quickly disengage” and “ease tensions” on their border areas, the two countries said in a joint statement on Friday, after a monthslong military standoff in the eastern Ladakh region.
The statement was issued after foreign ministers S. Jaishankar and Wang Yi met on the sidelines of a multilateral Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) conference in Moscow on Thursday night.
“The two foreign ministers agreed that the current situation in the border areas is not in the interest of either side. They agreed therefore that the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions,” the statements said.
The statement didn’t specify any time-line for the disengagement of thousands of troops deployed on either side of the un-demarcated border where they have accused each other of illegal trespassing.
But they agreed on a five-point plan for resolving the tension after Jaishankar and Wang had “a frank and constructive discussion” on the developments, according to almost an identical statement issued simultaneously in New Delhi and Beijing.
The two ministers agreed that both sides should not allow differences to become disputes and take guidance from the series of consensus of the leaders, China President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
They also agreed that to “abide by all the existing agreements and protocol on China-India boundary affairs, maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas and avoid any action that could escalate matters.”
The ministers also agreed that the two sides should continue dialogue and communication through an established mechanism on the India-China boundary question and “expedite work to conclude new confidence building measures to maintain and enhance peace.”
The statement comes as tension between India and China spiked afresh earlier this week near the disputed Himalayan boundary in the Ladakh sector, where 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a brawl in June.
Tensions took an alarming turn on Sep. 8 as Chinese and Indian armies accused each other of occupying contested territories and firing warning shots on the disputed border, called the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a loose demarcation that separates the two countries.
This, according to Indian military records, marked the first time in decades that bullets were fired along the 3,500-km (2,175-mile) border that stretches from the Ladakh region in the north to Sikkim in India’s northeast.
The military tension between the two nuclear-powered neighbors began in May with the two armies accusing each other of provocative trespassing on the disputed border surrounding the high-altitude Pangong Tso saline water lake in Ladakh that houses the highest military landing strip in the world.
Both sides have since rushed in tens of thousands of troops along with artillery, tanks, and fighter jets near the frontier in Ladakh, which is at the risk of a three-front nuclear tension since it borders China on one side and Pakistan on the other. EFE-EPA