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India and China vow to ‘redouble efforts’ to resolve border dispute

The Indian and Chinese foreign ministers have held talks on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Astana

New Delhi and Beijing have agreed to “redouble efforts through diplomatic and military channels” to find an “early resolution” of long-standing border disputes, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Thursday. The statement came after he met his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.

India and China share a vaguely defined 3,440km (2,100-mile) border called the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Himalayan region, which has been the scene of numerous skirmishes. Tensions last flared in June 2020, after troops clashed in the disputed Galwan Valley, resulting in casualties on both sides.

“Respecting the LAC and ensuring peace and tranquility in the border areas is essential,” Jaishankar wrote after holding talks with Wang in Astana. “Mutual respect, mutual sensitivity, and mutual interest” will guide bilateral ties, the diplomat added.

In April, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said New Delhi and Beijing must “urgently address” ongoing border disputes and resolve the “abnormality” in their ties. Last year, Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa and discussed ironing out differences at the border.

New Delhi and Beijing have held more than 20 rounds of border talks since the 2020 incident, with the latest taking place in March this year. However, there has been no indication of a breakthrough. According to the Foreign Ministry in New Delhi, the two sides have agreed to maintain “regular contact” through diplomatic and military channels to maintain peace.

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After Modi was elected for a third straight term with the help of his party’s allies in June, Jaishankar stressed that resolving long-standing issues with neighboring China and Pakistan would be among New Delhi’s foreign policy priorities.

Soon after, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi said that Beijing is willing to work with New Delhi to advance bilateral ties “in the right direction.” 

Chinese claims to the Arunachal Pradesh region of India, which it calls ‘Zangnan’, have triggered fresh tensions this year. Beijing protested after Modi visited the region in March to inaugurate a tunnel built to hasten Indian troop deployments to the area. Beijing later renamed several locations in the region – a move described as “senseless” by New Delhi.

In May, New Delhi lodged a complaint with Beijing over its alleged construction of a road in the lower Shaksgam Valley, an area ceded to China by Pakistan in 1963 which India considers part of its territory.

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