Disengagement necessary at all friction points: Jaishankar

New Delhi / Beijing

India has told China disengagement at all friction points is necessary to contemplate de-escalation of troops in eastern Ladakh even as the foreign ministers of the two countries agreed to establish a hotline for "timely" communication and exchange of views.

In the first high level contact after the two countries agreed early this month to disengage from the Pangong Tso area in eastern Ladakh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during a telephonic conversation on Thursday peace and tranquillity on the border is essential for development of bilateral relations

Releasing details of the 75-minute conversation, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement on Friday China was told bilateral relations have been impacted severely over the last year misadventures.

The two leaders discussed the situation along the LAC in eastern Ladakh and issues related to overall India-China relations. "EAM said Boundary Question may take time to resolve but disturbance of peace and tranquillity, including by violence, will inevitably have a damaging impact on the relationship," the MEA said. "The ministers agreed to remain in touch and establish a hotline."

"A prolongation of the existing situation was not in the interest of either side. It was, therefore, necessary that the two sides should work towards early resolution of remaining issues. It was necessary to disengage at all friction points in order to contemplate de-escalation of forces in this sector. That alone will lead to the restoration of peace and tranquillity and provide conditions for progress of our bilateral relationship," the MEA statement said.

When asked for an update on disengagement of troops in other areas after the withdrawal of soldiers by both sides from the Pangong lake area, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing on Friday that the situation on the ground has significantly eased.

"Recently frontline troops of both sides completed disengagement in the Pangong Lake area and the situation on the ground has significantly eased," he said.

"The two sides should cherish this hard-won momentum and consolidate existing outcomes, maintain the momentum for consultations, further ease the situation, improve border management and control mechanism, advance negotiation on the boundary issue to accumulate mutual trust and safeguard peace and tranquillity along the border," he added.

Asked when the two countries would set up a hotline for the foreign ministers, the spokesman said the two sides will remain in communication on the matter.

Wang noted 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 ties between the two neighbours.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry release, Wang said border disputes are an "objective reality" and need to be attached adequate attention and taken seriously. However, the border issue is not the whole story of China-India relations, and should be placed in a proper position in their relationship, he said.

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