Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday conveyed a clear message to Chinese counterpart Foreign Minister Wang Yi that what happened in Galwan was a “pre-mediated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties.”
This was the first time Jaishankar spoke to Wang since the stand-off began in early May and marked the highest political contact to address the tensions after talks between military commanders failed to break the impasse.
In a strong tone, Dr Jaishankar’s told Wang Yi that this “unprecedented development will have a serious impact on the bilateral relationship.” The Indian Foreign Minister further told his counterpart “the need of the hour was for the Chinese side to reassess its actions and take corrective steps.”
India wants restoration of old status quo along the Line of Actual Control prevailing before May 2020 when the first reports of Chinese incursions started appearing.
Jaishankar conveyed the protest of the Indian government in the strongest terms saying it reflected an intent to change the facts on the ground in violation of all our agreements to not change the status quo.
20 Indian Army personnel, including a Colonel, were killed in the violent face-off on June 15. Indian intercepts have revealed that the Chinese side suffered 43 casualties including dead and seriously injured in the violent clash. The commanding officer of the Chinese Unit is among those killed.
Dr Jaishankar recalled that at the meeting of senior Military Commanders held on June 6, an agreement was reached on de-escalation and disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and ground commanders were meeting regularly to implement this consensus throughout the last week.
According to an External Affairs Ministry release, Dr Jaishankar said while there was some progress, “the Chinese side sought to erect a structure in Galwan valley on our side of the LAC”.
“While this became a source of dispute, the Chinese side took pre-meditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties. It reflected an intent to change the facts on ground in violation of all our agreements to not change the status quo,” the minister said.
The minister said the two sides should strictly respect and observe the line of actual control and should not take any unilateral action to alter it.
At the conclusion of the discussion, it was agreed that the overall situation would be handled in a responsible manner, and both sides would implement the disengagement understanding of 6 June sincerely. “Neither side would take any action to escalate matters and instead, ensure peace and tranquillity as per bilateral agreements and protocols,” the release said.
It said that Foreign Minister of China, on his part, conveyed the Chinese position on recent developments.