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India and China conduct 17th WMCC meeting virtually, both sides agree on early and complete disengagement of the troops along LAC

In the 17th WMCC meeting, China said: "Will properly handle remaining issues on the ground and promote further cooling of the border situation."

India and China Friday held the 17th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China Border Affairs to revolve the current standoff between the two sides. In the virtual meeting, representatives from the foreign affairs, defence, immigration and other departments of the two countries participated.

The statement by Chinese authorities read that in a candid and in-depth discussion both the countries fully affirmed that they would disengage from contact at the border and ease the situation on the ground. “Will properly handle remaining issues on ground and promote further cooling of the border situation,” confirmed China.

The two sides reviewed the situation in the India-China border areas and the ongoing disengagement process along the Line of Actual Control (LAC )in the Western Sector. They agreed that early and complete disengagement of the troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and de-escalation from India-China border areas in accordance with bilateral agreement and protocols and full restoration of peace and tranquillity was essential for smooth overall development of bilateral relations.

Both sides agreed that it was necessary for both sides to sincerely implement the understandings reached between Senior Commanders in their meetings till date. The two sides agreed that another meeting of the Senior Commanders may be held soon so as to work out further steps to ensure expeditiously complete disengagement and de-escalation and restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

The statement said that there has been positive progress at the border areas in disengagement from conflict areas by both sides. It furthered that the two countries emphasised that they will maintain military and diplomatic dialogue and consultation in accordance with the consensus reached by the two sides.

Reiterating that it won’t accept any unilateral attempt by China to change LAC, India on Thursday said it “expected” China to “sincerely work” with it “for complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas”. 

On Thursday, MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said: “I have made clear the position of the Government as regards the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) along India-China border areas through a number of statements in the last several weeks. … In my statement of June 26th, I had noted that the conduct of Chinese forces this year, including the deployment of large body of troops and changes in behaviour, accompanied by unjustified and untenable claims, has been in complete disregard of all the mutual agreements. We have also made it clear that India is fully committed to observing and respecting the LAC and that we will not accept any unilateral attempts to change the status quo along the LAC,” said the Spokesperson.

International support for India grows amidst LAC standoff

Amidst the recent LAC standoff with China, India had managed to garner immense global support. Many countries around the globe, like the USA, France, Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom, have also raised their voices against China’s imperialistic and expansionist impulses in its neighbourhood.

Though the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have refrained from overtly blaming China for the current LAC standoff in Eastern Ladakh fearing retribution, the leaders of the 10 states in the group recently rejected China’s claim to the whole of the South China Sea. The group said that the 1982 UN oceans treaty should not be violated and held as a basis of sovereign rights and entitlements in the disputed waters.

PM Modi’s stern message to China

The sudden shift in China’s stance is being primarily credited to PM Modi’s surprise visit to Ladakh soon after the Galwan Valley standoff. PM Modi had given a stern message to China that India will no longer acquiesce to its hegemony and territorial expansionism and resolutely stand up against it along the border. Following PM Modi’s high-voltage visit to the regions close to flashpoints, several countries have come forward to express their support for India.

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