India on Thursday said China should “sincerely” work with it for complete disengagement of troops from all friction points including the Pangong lake area in Ladakh.
At a media briefing, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava asked China not to make unilateral attempts to change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), adding both sides should focus on easing tensions in the friction areas by refraining from any actions that may lead to an escalation in the situation.
There have been at least three attempts by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army(PLA) to “intimidate” Indian troops along the northern and southern bank of Pangong lake area in the last three weeks where even shots were fired in the air for the first time at the LAC in 45 years.
“The Chinese side should sincerely work with the Indian side for complete disengagement at the earliest from all friction areas including Pangong Lake as well as de-escalation in border areas in accordance with the bilateral agreements and protocols on maintenance of peace and tranquillity in border areas,” Srivastava said. “We hope the Chinese side will strictly respect and observe the Line of Actual Control and not make further attempts to unilaterally change status quo.”
The assertion by Srivastava came in the backdrop of remarks by the Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday that it was for India to initiate the process to disengage and restore peace along the border areas.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Thursday reiterated his country’s position.
“The most urgent task is for the Indian side to immediately correct its wrongdoing, disengage from contact on the spot as soon as possible, and take practical actions to promote the easing of the border situation,” he said.
Wang was responding to a question at a media briefing as to when the next round of diplomatic and military talks for disengagement will be held following the Jaishankar-Wang meeting.