India, China Foreign Ministers to establish hotline

India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, during Thursday’s phone call, agreed to establish a hotline, as both sides stressed the importance of timely communication in the wake of last year’s border crisis. The decision was reached at a 75-minute phone call between the two foreign ministers on Thursday, India’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday, adding that New Delhi was pushing for an quick resolution to the border crisis.

In a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs Friday, India emphasised the September 2020 meeting in Moscow between both the ministers where New Delhi “had expressed its concern on provocative behavior and unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter status quo”. Jaishankar has also informed Wang during the phone call that bilateral relations “have been impacted severely” last year due to the standoff that began in April-May 2020, which also led to the killing of 20 Indian soldiers in the Galwan river valley. Lauding the efforts made by both the sides in successfully achieving the completion of disengagement in Pangong Lake area, both ministers have agreed that both sides should now ‘quickly resolve the remaining issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.

On Sunday, both countries 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 the 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.