India & China continue to maintain close communication: MEA on Ladakh standoff

India, US have common interest in promoting security in Indo-Pacific; India will not have R-Day chief guest due to global coronavirus situation


NEW DELHI, Jan 14: India and China continue to maintain close communication through diplomatic and military channels with the objective of ensuring complete disengagement at all friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) said on Thursday.
The MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the two sides have agreed to hold the next round of military talks and are in constant communication in this regard.
"India and China continue to maintain close communication through diplomatic and military channels with the objective of ensuring complete disengagement in all friction points along the LAC in the western sector and for full restoration of peace and tranquillity," he told a media briefing.
Srivastava was responding to a question on the status of talks between the two countries on the military face-off in eastern Ladakh.
The troops of the Indian Army and the Chinese People's Liberation Army(PLA) are locked in a standoff for over eight months.
Last month, India and China held another round of diplomatic talks under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs.
"As you are aware, the latest round of WMCC was held on December 18. The two sides have agreed to hold a next round of senior commanders meeting, and are in constant communication through diplomatic and military channels in this regard," Srivastava said.
The eighth and last round of military talks between the two sides took place on November 6 during which both sides broadly discussed disengagement of troops from specific friction points.
Army chief Gen MM Naravane on Tuesday hoped for an amicable resolution of the standoff through talks based on "mutual and equal security".
The Chief of Army Staff at the same time asserted that Indian troops are fully prepared to deal with any eventuality along the LAC and will hold their ground as long as it takes to achieve the "national goals and objectives."
India has all along been maintaining that the onus is on China to carry forward the process of disengagement and de-escalation at the friction points in the mountainous region.
Following the sixth round of military talks, the two sides had announced a slew of decisions including not to send more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground and avoid taking any actions that may further complicate matters.
This round was held with a specific agenda of exploring ways to implement a five-point agreement reached between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a meeting in Moscow on September 10 on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) conclave.
The pact included measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the LAC.
Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday announced that there will be no foreign leader as the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations due to the global situation arising out of the coronavirus pandemic.
It will be for the first time in over five decades that India will not have a chief guest at the Republic Day parade.
"Due to the global COVID 19 situation, it has been decided that this year there will not be a foreign head of state or head of government as the chief guest for our Republic Day event," MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at a media briefing.
The decision was taken after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's last-minute decision to cancel his visit due to the spread of a mutant strain of the coronavirus in the UK.
India had invited Johnson as the Republic Day chief guest and he accepted India's invitation, calling it "a great honour".
However, earlier this month, Johnson cancelled his India visit due to the pandemic that has escalated in the UK following the mutant variant.
India on Thursday said that the year 2021 will be a historic year for India-Bangladesh bilateral relations as both countries will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Liberation War of 1971, which led to the creation of Bangladesh.
Speaking at a virtual briefing, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said: "India and Bangladesh are commemorating 50 years of diplomatic ties this year, and the tri-services contingent from Bangladesh is visiting India at the invitation of the government to participate in the Republic Day parade. This is a testimony to our ties, which are forged, shared and sacrificed. Now this year 2021 will also be historic in our bilateral relations as we are also commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Liberation War." The MEA spokesperson recalled the virtual summit held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina, where it was agreed that both nations would jointly organise several activities to celebrate the Republic Day and the 50th anniversary of the Liberation War in India, Bangladesh and other countries.
He further said that a number of such activities are being planned which will celebrate the legacy of shared history between the two countries.
Earlier, it was announced that in a show of respect to India and to commemorate its 50 years of the Liberation War, the Bangladesh Tri-service marching contingent and the ceremonial band will participate in this year's Republic Day parade at Rajpath in New Delhi.
The Indian High Commission in Bangladesh stated in a release that a contingent of 122 proud soldiers of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, departed for India in a specially sent IAF C-17 aircraft.
The contingent will participate in India's Republic Day Parade in New Delhi on 26 January 2021.
In one of the fastest and shortest campaigns of military history, a new nation (Bangladesh) was born as a result of the swift campaign undertaken by the Indian Army.
After facing defeat in the 1971 war, the then Army Chief of Pakistan General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, along with his 93,000 troops, surrendered to allied forces, which also comprised Indian Army personnel.

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