Ladakh incursion: No deal with China, says India
Beijing/New Delhi: A day after India and China ended their three-week long face-off in Ladakh, the Indian government on Monday said there was no "deal" with China, which also confirmed that the "stand off incident" has been resolved, but did not mention whether the status quo in the sector as it existed prior to April 15 will be restored or not.
Dismissing speculation of any "deal" while resolving the situation, government sources said the two sides have only agreed to sit and talk about the peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) while restoring to the status quo in the sector.
Meanwhile, China stopped short of acknowledging that its troops, which had intruded 19 kms into Indian territory, were going back to position prior to April 15 but said the "stand off incident" has been resolved through "fruitful consultations".
In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswomen Hua Chunying said, "Following the stand off incident at the border area, China and India with the larger interests of bilateral relations in mind have taken a cooperative and constructive attitude".
The two sides exercised restraint and properly handled the incident through relevant mechanisms, diplomatic channels and border meetings, she said.
In New Delhi, spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said India and China have agreed to restore status quo along Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh as it existed prior to April 15.
Announcing this, he also said flag meetings have been held to work out modalities and to confirm the arrangements.
The spokesperson also officially announced the two-day visit of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to China from Thursday.
Khurshid and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi "will discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of concern to both sides. They will also discuss the proposed visit to India of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang," he said.
The sources also dismissed reports that the recent Chinese incursion was a "military affair" and said it was probably done to bring to table Beijing's concerns over India's efforts to build up its defence capabilities along the Ladakh and Arunachal borders.
When asked whether after the incursion, India will slow down or reverse its moves to build up its defence capabilities, they said, government will do what it needs to do.
In her first comments after the decision of the two countries to withdraw troops from the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) area after a 20-day stand off, Hua said, "As far as I know relevant consultations have been fruitful".
"We believe that maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border areas serve the common interests of the two sides. China is ready to join hands with the Indian side to seek a mutually acceptable and fair solution to the border question at an early date", she said.
Pressed for more details on the settlement, including dismantling of tents erected by the PLA, Hua said, "I need to follow closely the latest information".
"As I said before the two sides bear in mind the larger interests of bilateral relations," she said.
The two sides have taken a constructive and cooperative attitude and have maintained communication and consultation and made positive progress, Hua said.
"I will share with you relevant information if I get the latest information," she said.
Asked whether the Chinese troops moved back from their position, when did that happen and how far they withdrew, she replied, "I have said the two sides have been constructive and cooperative and have been maintaining communications through relevant mechanism in the border regions".
"Relevant consultations have made positive progress. I know you are very concerned about this and I must follow the information to tell you the correct information", Hua said.
A platoon of Chinese troops estimated at about 50 and accompanied by vehicles and dogs had intruded 19 km inside the Indian territory across LAC in Daulat Beg Oldi sector on April 15 and set up five tents.
The Indian troops had also established tented posts facing the Chinese forces at a distance of 300 metres.
The troops of the two sides had held four flag meetings, the last one being yesterday. However, there was no positive outcome from these meetings, which went hand-in-hand with high-level diplomatic efforts to break the impasse.
An agreement was reached yesterday for both sides to pull back their troops simultaneously from the face off point, which was completed at 1930 hours, sources said.
Indian and Chinese commanders at the local level shook hands before withdrawing, they said.