By K J M Varma
Beijing, Mar 5 (PTI) Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri on Friday met Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui and emphasised the importance of completing the disengagement of troops from the remaining areas in eastern Ladakh, saying it would help restore peace and tranquillity at the border and provide conditions for progress in bilateral ties.
The meeting took place days after the armies of the two countries concluded withdrawal of troops and weapons from the North and South banks of the Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh.
At the 10th round of the senior commanders' meeting last month, India is learnt to have insisted on a faster disengagement process in areas such as Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang to defuse tension in the region.
"Ambassador @VikramMisri met H.E. VFM Luo Zhaohui today at MFAChina. Amb emphasised that maintaining peace & tranquility in border areas had always been the basis for development of bilateral relations,” a tweet by the Indian Embassy here said.
"Emphasizing the importance of completing disengagement in the remaining areas, Ambassador @VikramMisri noted that this would help restore peace and tranquility and provide conditions for progress in relations,” a second tweet said.
He also “flagged outstanding consular issues pertaining to Indian nationals and requested MFA’s facilitation in seeking a resolution,” another tweet said.
Vice Foreign Minister Luo was a former Chinese Ambassador to India.
In New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Friday said that India expects China to work with it through existing bilateral consultation mechanisms to ensure early completion of the disengagement process in the remaining areas in eastern Ladakh to allow both sides to consider de-escalation of forces.
At a weekly media briefing, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had a detailed discussion with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi last week and agreed to set up a hotline, details of which would be worked out through diplomatic channels.
"It is our expectation that the Chinese side will work with us both through the WMCC (Working Mechanism for Consultation and Cooperation on India-China border issues) and the senior commanders' meetings to ensure that disengagement in the remaining areas is completed at the earliest," Srivastava said.
"This would allow both sides to consider de-escalation of forces in eastern Ladakh as that alone will lead to the restoration of peace and tranquillity and provide conditions for the progress in our bilateral relationship," he added.
Indian and Chinese troops who were locked in over eight-month long standoff in eastern Ladakh disengaged from the most contentious area of Pangong Tso.
The border standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies erupted on May 5 last year following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.
Subsequently, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a fierce hand-to-hand combat on June 15 in the Galwan Valley, an incident that marked the most serious military conflicts between the two sides in over four decades. Eight months after the confrontation, China admitted that its four soldiers were killed in the clash. PTI KJV AKJ GSN AKJ