Salman Khurshid to visit China; no word on flag meeting
Zee Media Bureau
Beijing: Amid growing tensions between India and China over Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will visit Beijing on May 09.
Khurshid’s visit gains importance as China has firmly stuck to its stand that its troops have not violated the Line of Actual Control (LAC) "by a step" in the Ladakh region. Clearly, India is mulling all options to break the impasse and may seek a third flag meeting this week.
The second flag meeting, held earlier this week, reportedly collapsed after China asked the Indian Army to destroy some of its positions in eastern Ladakh as a precondition for pulling back.
Indian on its part asked China to revert to the status quo position in Depsang Valley in Ladakh where troops of both countries were in a face-to-face situation after Indian military alleged that Chinese forces intruded nearly 10 kms inside Indian territory.
“These things (border incursions) happen because there is difference of opinion & there is no demarcation of LAC,” Khurshid had said earlier.
Apart from the flag meetings between the local military commanders of the two countries, the issue has also been taken up by the officials of the Foreign Ministries under a working mechanism that was established to address problems faced by the two armies on the ground while patrolling the vast tracks of disputed boundary.
Ignoring India's demand to revert to a status-quo in Depsang Valley, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “I want to reiterate here that the Chinese border troops have been acting in strict compliance with the bilateral agreements and conducting normal patrol on the Chinese side of the LAC. They have never crossed the line by a step."
Hu's assertion of not even a step of violation was highlighted by the state television, CCTV which along with the rest of the official media began covering the incident for the first time even since the Ladakh incursion came to light last week.
The incident has thrown out of gear a flurry of engagements at the top between the two countries before the planned visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to New Delhi next month.
Li, who took over from Wen Jiabao last month, chose India to be his first trip abroad as Prime Minister to send a message of friendship as well as importance China attached to improve relations with New Delhi.
From India, Li plans to go to Pakistan, China's all weather ally.
The new Pakistan government, which is expected to be formed after elections next month, is expected to be in place when his visit takes place.
With PTI inputs