China, India agree to ease border tensions

Russia's FM Sergei Lavrov, India's FM Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and China's State Councillor Wang Yi, Moscow, 10 September.

China and India announced they had agreed to de-escalate renewed tensions on their contested Himalayan border and take steps to restore “peace and tranquillity” following a high-level diplomatic meeting in Moscow on Thursday, news wires reported.

Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi and Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar reached a five-point consensus, including agreements the current border situation is not in their interests and that troops from both sides should quickly disengage and ease tensions, the two countries said in a joint statement after the meeting.

The consensus, struck on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, came after a clash in the border area in the western Himalayas earlier this week. China and India accused each other of firing into the air during the confrontation, a violation of long-held protocol not to use firearms on the sensitive frontier.

Wang told Jaishankar during the meeting the “imperative is to immediately stop provocations such as firing and other dangerous actions that violate the commitments made by the two sides,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Wang also told Jaishankar all personnel and equipment that have trespassed at the border must be moved and that frontier troops on both sides “must quickly disengage” in order to de-escalate the situation.

The comments contrast with recent show of force by the Chinese military. China’s Global Times, an influential tabloid published by the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party, reported on Wednesday the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were moving soldiers, bombers and armoured vehicles into the border. Chinese state media also recently reported armed jump drills by PLA paratroopers in Tibet. The Global Times said in an editorial published late Thursday that any talks with India should be paired with “war readiness”. “The Chinese side must be fully prepared to take military action when diplomatic engagement fails, and its frontline troops must be able to respond to emergencies, and be ready to fight at any time,” the newspaper said.

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