India to look for red flags amid de-escalation with China

New Delhi: As China withdraws troops from several friction points in eastern Ladakh, India on Thursday said it remained convinced of the need for maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas and resolution of differences through dialogue, PTI reported.

At the same time, India said it is strongly committed to ensuring its sovereignty and territorial integrity, asserting that the Line of Actual Control (LAC) must be strictly respected and observed as it is the basis for peace and tranquility in border areas.

At an online media briefing, external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said National Security Advisor Ajit Doval categorically conveyed to Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi last Sunday India’s position on the recent developments along the LAC including in the Galwan valley area.

Doval and Wang, the special representatives for border talks, held a telephonic conversation following which armies of the two countries began disengagement of troops from friction points in eastern Ladakh.

Srivastava said the diplomatic and military officials of both sides will continue their meetings to take forward the process of disengagement and de-escalation as agreed to by the special representatives.

“The next meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs (WMCC) is expected to take place soon,” he said.

India’s top strategy group on China led by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met on Wednesday to review the withdrawal of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers from the standoff points in eastern Ladakh and decide the government’s next steps. India was also to look out for possible red flags. A top military commander said the army had scaled up its presence in the area to match the adversary in troop numbers and support elements as a precautionary measure.

Government officials said it was on account of a gradual, and graded pullback of troops by the Chinese side that New Delhi had adopted a cautious approach and in the Ladakh sector, closely tracking troop movements around Pangong lake and Depsang plains as well.

This was their first meeting after Chinese troops started withdrawing troops from three of the standoff points after Ajit Doval’s two-hour-long conversation with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on Sunday evening, people familiar with the development told Hindustan Times.

Doval will have a second conversation with Qang Yi in about three weeks when the two sides will discuss the border situation again before the next step of de-escalation is ordered.

Meanwhile, in Washington,  US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that India has done its best to respond to China’s confrontation and the world must unite to act on Beijing’s pattern of aggressive behavior seen in Ladakh, Bhutan and around Asia.

Image courtesy of PTI

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