China and India ‘reach consensus’ in Himalayan border stand-off


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Beijing said on Wednesday that it had reached a “positive consensus” with India over their tense border stand-off in the Himalayas.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said an agreement had been reached on the border situation through “effective diplomatic and military communication” between both sides.
“Both sides are taking relevant actions to ease the border situation based on this consensus,” she said.
Scuffles erupted between Chinese and Indian troops in early May at various points along the Line of Actual Control, which separates the Asian neighbours. The latest face-offs reportedly took place between the two nuclear-armed powers near Pangong lake in the Ladakh region and near the Naku La mountain pass along the Sikkim border.
Beijing and New Delhi have long engaged in skirmishes along their disputed 3,488km (2,170-mile) border, including a bitter war in 1962.
In 2017, a military stand-off in the disputed Doklam plateau that many feared had reached the brink of war, ended after 73 days with both sides agreeing to pull back.
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It is unclear about how the latest border frictions began, with Indian media reporting that Chinese troops intruded into their territory and Chinese media accusing Indian forces of “illegal construction of defence facilities” in Chinese territory.
On the weekend, Chinese state media reported that the People’s Liberation Army had staged a large-scale military drill with thousands of paratroopers and armoured vehicles, all of which could be deployed “within hours” to the Himalayan border.
The United States had offered in late May to mediate in the dispute, but the proposal was rejected by both China and India.
But Indian media reported on Wednesday that division-level commanders from both sides were meeting in the early stages of troop disengagement along the border.
This came after high-level military commanders from China and India met on Saturday in a “cordial and positive atmosphere”, and agreed to “peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas”, according to India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
Senior foreign ministry officials from both countries also held a video conference on Friday to discuss the border tensions.
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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
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