China & India shunt aside Third Parties — Seeking Dispute Settlement Face-to-Face

Sutirtho Patranobis, in Hindustan Times, 1 April 2022, China, India opposed to interference in border dispute” …. with highlighting inserted by The Editor, Thuppahi

The Chinese defence ministry was responding to comments from a top US official who said India was facing a severe situation on its border with China.

Jan 01 (ANI): Indian Army and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China exchanged greetings and sweets along the LAC at Demchok on New Year’s Day, in Leh on Saturday. (ANI Photo) (ANI)

China and India are firmly opposed to any third party interference in the border dispute, the Chinese defence ministry said on Thursday, adding that the two countries have agreed to resolve differences by negotiating and consulting each other.

Referring to the 15th round of military negotiations held on March 11, the defence ministry also said the talks were “positive” and “constructive”.

“China and India sides have agreed to properly handle the border issue through negotiation and consultation, firmly opposing interference from a third party,” Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of National Defence (MND) said at the monthly press conference in Beijing on Thursday.

Wu was commenting on the recent remarks by US assistant secretary of defence for Indo-Pacific security affairs Ely Ratner, who said that India is facing a severe situation from the Chinese side along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), to which the US pays close attention.

Ratner’s comments came in the run-up to the 15th round of military talks between India and China held on March 11 to resolve the ongoing friction in eastern Ladakh.

Wu also pointed out that the China-India border issue is a matter between China and India. He said “the two sides held discussions on continuing to promote the settlement of relevant issues in the area along the LAC in the Western Sector of the China-India border”.

“The two sides reiterated that the settlement of the remaining issues would help restore peace and tranquillity in the area and promote the development of bilateral relations,” Wu said, according to a transcript of Thursday’s press conference published on a Chinese military portal.

“The two sides had agreed to continue to keep security and stability on the frontline in the Western Sector, and maintain dialogue via military and diplomatic channels so as to reach a mutually acceptable solution to the remaining issues as soon as possible,” Wu said.

Ahead of the talks, the Chinese foreign ministry had said it was hopeful that India and China will make progress during the March 11 talks to resolve friction at LAC. Indian officials had similarly said that recent statements by both sides to find a mutually acceptable solution were encouraging and positive.

The Indian delegation was led by commander of XIV Corps, responsible for guarding the LAC with China in eastern Ladakh, Lt Gen Anindya Sengupta.

For China, the delegation was headed by Maj Gen Yang Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang Military District, who had also led the discussions in the 14th round in January for the first time.

Despite several rounds of diplomatic and military talks over the past two years, the two sides have been unable to end the nearly 22-month standoff in eastern Ladakh.

Earlier this month, the Chinese foreign ministry told HT that the Chinese side is working closely with India to reach an acceptable solution to the standoff in eastern Ladakh “as soon as possible”, and it contended that troop disengagement has taken place at Galwan Valley, Pangong Lake and, for the first time, Hot Spring.

The Indian side has only acknowledged disengagement of frontline forces on the northern and southern banks of Pangong Lake and at Gogra.


Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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