Indian EAM S Jaishankar with Chinese FM Wang Yi in Astana, Kazakhstan. Photo courtesy: X/@DrSJaishankar

India and China today vowed to redouble efforts to resolve the remaining issues in eastern Ladakh at the earliest and “stabilise and rebuild” ties. Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar conveyed to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a meeting that the Line of Actual Control (LAC) must be respected.

Jaishankar, who met Wang in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, posted on X today: “Met with CPC Politburo member and FM Wang Yi in Astana this morning. Discussed early resolution of remaining issues in border areas. Agreed to redouble efforts through diplomatic and military channels to that end.

“Respecting the LAC and ensuring peace and tranquility in the border areas is essential. The three mutuals – mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interest – will guide our bilateral ties.”

In the talks, held on the sidelines of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Jaishankar underlined the need for fully abiding by relevant bilateral agreements and protocols reached between the two sides in the past for the management of the India-China border.

In a statement, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that Jaishankar and Wang had an in-depth exchange of views on finding an early resolution of the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh to “stabilise and rebuild bilateral relations”.

Indian military personnel in Ladakh
Indian military personnel of the Medium Maintenance (Reset) Facility in Ladakh. This facility promotes enhanced Serviceability & Mission Reliability of Armoured Fighting Vehicles in high-altitute areas and rugged terrain. Photo courtesy: X/@adgp

India has maintained that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas. “Both ministers agreed to continue and step up meetings of the diplomatic and military officials of the two sides to take forward their discussions to resolve the remaining issues at the earliest,” said the MEA.

“To that end, they agreed that the Working Mechanism on Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) should hold an early meeting,” it said.

The two ministers agreed that prolongation of the current situation in the border areas was not in the interest of either side, added the ministry.

“The [Indian] external affairs minister highlighted the need to redouble efforts to achieve complete disengagement from the remaining areas in eastern Ladakh and restore border peace and tranquillity in order to remove obstacles towards the return of normalcy in bilateral relations,” said the MEA.

The Jaishankar-Wang talks came amid the dragging border row in eastern Ladakh that entered its fifth year in May 2024.

Indian and Chinese militaries have been locked in a standoff since May 2020 and a full resolution of the border row has not yet been achieved, though the two sides have disengaged from a number of friction points.

Ties between the two countries nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.

The two sides held the last round of high-level military talks in February with the aim of resolving the row.

Though there was no indication of a breakthrough at the 21st round of talks, both sides agreed to maintain “peace and tranquillity” on the ground and continue communication on the way forward.