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Readout by Official Spokesperson on the India – China Border Issue during the Virtual Weekly Media Briefing on 18 June 2020

June 18, 2020

You would have already seen our earlier statement of 16th June and the readout issued yesterday of the phone conversation between EM and the Chinese foreign minister on the recent developments in the western sector of the India-China border. To give you a background, India and China have been discussing through military and diplomatic channels the de-escalation of the situation in the border area in eastern Ladakh. On 6th, June 2020 the core commanders of India and China held a meeting in the Chushul Moldo region, where an agreement was reached on de-escalation and disengagement along the line of actual control. Ground commanders were meeting regularly to implement this consensus throughout last week. While it was our expectation that this would unfold smoothly, the Chinese side departed from the consensus to respect the LAC in the Galwan Valley. On the late evening and night of 15th June 2020, a violent face-off happened when the Chinese side unilaterally attempted to change the status quo there. They took pre-meditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties suffered by both sides. This could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side. Given its responsible approach to border management, India is very clear that all activities are always within the Indian side of the LAC. We expect the Chinese side to also confine its activities to its side of the LAC. During his telephone conversation with the Chinese foreign minister, EAM conveyed that the need of the hour was for the Chinese side to reassess its actions and take corrective steps. They should strictly respect and observe the line of actual control and not take any unilateral action to alter it. It was agreed that both sides would implement the disengagement understanding of 6th June sincerely. Neither side would take any action to escalate matters and instead ensure peace and tranquility as per bilateral agreements and protocols. The two sides are in regular touch through the respective embassies and foreign offices. At the ground level, the two sides have maintained communication at the commander's level. Meetings of other established diplomatic mechanisms, such as, working mechanism for consultation and coordination on border affairs, WMCC, are under discussion. While we remain firmly convinced of the need for maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas and the resolution of differences through dialogue, at the same time, as Honorable PM stated yesterday, we are also strongly committed to ensuring India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

I'll also respond to specific questions on the status of Indian soldiers. This has been clarified by the Army earlier today afternoon that there are no Indian troops missing in action. Specifically on the questions on the Chinese claims on Galwan Valley, I would refer you to my statement of last evening.

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