India-China border situation ‘generally stable’: China’s defence minister

After India firmly told China that its violation of the border pacts has “eroded” the entire basis of bilateral ties, China’s defence ministry on Friday said the situation at the border is “generally stable” and both sides should put the boundary issue in an “appropriate position” and promote its transition to “normalised management”.

China’s defence minister General Li Shangfu, who is in New Delhi to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers conference, held a 45-minute-long meeting with his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh on Thursday during which the two ministers discussed the standoff at the eastern Ladakh area since May 2020.

At the meeting, Singh told Gen Li that China’s violation of border agreements “eroded” the entire basis of ties between the two countries and that all issues relating to the frontier must be resolved in accordance with the existing pacts.

A Chinese Defence Ministry statement issued on Friday said that during the meeting the two sides exchanged views on militaries and bilateral relations.

Gen. Li pointed out that “currently, the situation on the China-India border is generally stable and the two sides have maintained communication through military and diplomatic channels”.

“The two sides should take a long-term view, place the border issue in an appropriate position in bilateral relations, and promote the transition of the border situation to normalised management,” he said.

“It is hoped that the two sides will work together to continuously enhance mutual trust between the two militaries and make proper contributions to the development of bilateral relations,” Li told Singh.

He said that as major neighbouring countries and important developing countries, China and India share far more common interests than differences.

“The two sides should view bilateral relations and each other’s development from a comprehensive, long-term and strategic perspective, and jointly contribute wisdom and strength to world and regional peace and stability”, he said.

The Indian government sources in New Delhi said Singh conveyed to Li that after disengagement in remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh, there should be a movement towards de-escalation and expressed hope for a “positive response”.

In a statement, India’s defence ministry said the two ministers had “frank discussions” about the developments in the India-China border areas as well as bilateral relations.

“The Raksha Mantri categorically conveyed that development of relations between India and China is premised on the prevalence of peace and tranquillity at the borders,” it said.

“He added that all issues at the LAC need to be resolved in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and commitments,” the ministry said in New Delhi.

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