Khurshid going to Beijing, China does not mention status quo ante

New Delhi/Beijing, May 6 (IANS) A day after India and China ended their 20-day border stand-off, Beijing Monday stopped short of acknowledging that its troops were to revert to status quo that prevailed before the April 15 incursion, even as the Indian government maintained there had been no “deal” with China.

Both sides agreed to restore status quo, as it was prior to April 15, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border – in Ladakh and flag meetings have been held to confirm the arrangements, the Indian ministry of external affairs (MEA) said Monday.

“The governments of India and China have agreed to restore status quo ante along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Sector of the India-China boundary as it existed prior to April 15, 2013,” MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

However, Beijing did not mention that its troops were pulling back to pre-April 15 positions.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, addressing a press briefing in Beijing, said that since the stand-off “both sides have moved forward and adopted a constructive and cooperative attitude, and remained restrained”.

She said the two sides have so far maintained close communication and consultations on the issue through border-related mechanisms, diplomatic channels and border defense meetings.

“So far as I know, relevant departments of the two countries have made positive progress in their friendly consultations,” Hua said.

The Indian government said there had been no “deal” with China and both sides have agreed to sit and talk about peace and tranquillity along the line of actual control (LAC) while restoring to the status quo in the sector.

The ending of the 20-day stand-off, following intensive diplomatic negotiations and flag meetings of local commanders, comes four days ahead of the scheduled visit of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, which had looked under a cloud following BeijingÂ’s refusal to pull back the troops.

Khurshid is now flying to Beijing May 9-10.

The trip, at the invite of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, will see both sides discuss a host of issues, bilateral and global, as well as Chinese Premier Li KeqiangÂ’s forthcoming visit to India towards the end of the month.

On Sunday evening, Indian and Chinese troops ended their stand-off in Ladakh’s Depsang area following intensive negotiations. Chinese troops had intruded 19 km on the Indian side of the LAC in Ladakh’s Depsang area on April 15 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 positions that existed prior to April 15.

Differences over the alignment of the LAC are likely to top the agenda of Khurshid during his visit.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, during her briefing said: “I believe that both sides have the will and capability to properly resolve this incident as soon as possible and jointly maintain the healthy and stable growth of China-India relations.”

Hua said maintaining peace in the border areas conform with the common interests of the two countries. She said China is ready to work with India to reach a “fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable resolution of border issues” at the earliest possible date.

–Indo-Asian News service


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