India, China end border stand-off ahead of Khurshid visit

New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) India and China Sunday ended the 20-day-old border stand-off by agreeing to pull back their troops to their respective positions prior to April 15 — when Chinese troops had intruded 19 km inside Indian side of the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh’s Depsang area, said informed sources.

The development comes just days ahead of External Affairs Minister Salman KhurshidÂ’s May 9 visit to Beijing.

Chinese troops had entered on the Indian side of the LAC- the de-facto border – and pitched tents, causing concern in India. Indian troops also moved troops closer to the area.

After prolonged negotiations, Indian and Chinese soldiers Sunday evening pulled back to their positions that existed prior to April 15, the sources said.

Khurshid has hinted that he could reconsider his Beijing trip, to prepare for the visit of Chinese Premier Li X Keqiang in the third week of May, if there is no progress in resolving the border stand-off.

“I can’t say we have satisfaction (from Beijing) at this stage,” said Khurshid.

Khurshid had said a review of his visit has not been done “as of now” but “what will happen tomorrow, one can’t predict today”.

He also emphasised that India wanted reversal of “adverse incident” in Ladakh and return to the status quo in Depsang Valley where the Chinese troops intruded.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying Saturday told a media briefing that both nations are committed to resolving the border dispute through talks without letting it to “affect” bilateral ties.

“We would like to make joint efforts with India to boost China-India strategic cooperative partnership through this visit”, she said.

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