New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said his talks with his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang at their first meeting focused on addressing current challenges to the bilateral ties, especially peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
The discussions on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting came amid the over 34-month-long border row in eastern Ladakh.
It was the first meeting between Jaishankar and Qin after the later became the Chinese foreign minister in December.
Qin arrived in Delhi on Thursday morning to attend the G20 meeting hosted by India under its presidency of the influential grouping.
“Met Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on sidelines of #G20FMM this afternoon. Our discussions were focused on addressing current challenges to the bilateral relationship, especially peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” Jaishankar said on Twitter.
“We also spoke about the G20 agenda,” he said.
India has been maintaining that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.
The talks came nearly eight months after Jaishankar held a meeting with the then Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in Bali on the sidelines of a G20 meeting.
At the one-hour meeting on July 7, Jaishankar had conveyed to Wang the need for early resolution of all the outstanding issues in eastern Ladakh.
The external affairs minister had told Wang that the relationship between the two countries should be based on “three mutuals” — mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests.
Wang had visited India in March last year.
In line with a decision taken at the 16th round of military talks, the two sides carried out disengagement from Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings area in September last year.
But the face-off between the two of the planet’s biggest military forces lingered on in Demchok and Depsang regions though the Indian side pressed for completion of the disengagement in remaining friction points at the earliest.
On February 22, India and China held in-person diplomatic talks in Beijing and discussed proposals for disengagement in the remaining friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh in an “open and constructive manner”.
The meeting took place under the framework of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC).
The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area.
The ties between the two countries nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in 2021 on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.
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