India, China foreign ministers to establish hotline as Ladakh border crisis eases

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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi.External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi. 2 min read . Updated: 26 Feb 2021, 01:44 PM IST Staff Writer During their 75-minute phone call, both India and China have agreed to set up a hotline between their foreign ministers

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi have decided to remain in touch with the establishment of a hotline between them as the two sides look to reduce tensions along a disputed Himalayan border where their soldiers have been locked in confrontation since last May.

During their 75-minute phone call, both sides have agreed to set up a hotline between their foreign ministers, the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that New Delhi was pushing for a quick resolution to the border crisis.

The statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on Friday read: "Foreign Minister Wang Yi also noted that the Indian side had proposed ‘three mutuals’ (mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests) as the approach to the relationship. He also agreed on the importance of taking the long view of our ties. The two Ministers agreed to remain in touch and establish a hotline."

Bilateral relations 'impacted severely'

Jaishankar has also informed Wang during the phone call that bilateral relations "have been impacted severely" last year due to the standoff that began last summer, which also led to the killing of 20 Indian troops in the Galwan valley area.

"He noted that the bilateral relations have been impacted severely over last year. EAM said that Boundary Question may take time to resolve but the disturbance of peace and tranquility including by violence, will inevitably have a damaging impact on the relationship," read a statement released by the ministry.

On Sunday, both India and China said their troops had pulled out from a lake area in the western Himalayan region of Ladakh, where thousands of soldiers backed by tanks and artillery have been facing off since April.

As per an agreement announced by India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in February, the two countries will now hold talks to end close proximity deployments in other parts of Ladakh.

"Once disengagement is completed at all friction points, then the two sides could also look at broader de-escalation of troops in the area and work towards the restoration of peace and tranquility," the foreign ministry statement said.

The standoff in Ladakh began last April, when India said Chinese soldiers had intruded deep into its side of the Line of Actual Control, or the de facto border.

China said its troops were operating in its own area, accusing Indian soldiers of provocative actions.

In June, troops clashed in Ladakh's Galwan valley, where hand-to-hand combat left 20 Indian soldiers dead. Last week, Beijing said that four of its soldiers had been killed in the clash.

India and China share an undemarcated 3,800-km long border, where their troops previously adhered to longstanding protocols to avoid the use of any firearms.

With agency inputs

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