New Delhi: India
Tuesday said it has asked China to maintain the status quo that
existed before the April 15 incursion by Chinese troops in the Depsang area of the western sector of the India-China boundary,
even as External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said there was
no need for diplomatic-level talks to resolve the issue.
"There is no need for diplomatic-level talks," Khurshid said, and
added that local military commanders from both sides would hold
discussions "to work out a solution at flag meetings, as they have
been doing in the past".
External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said India
and China had "differing perceptions" of the Line of Actual
Control in the Depsang area and the incursion by Chinese troops
had led to a "face-to-face" situation between their troops.
"We see this as a face to face situation between the border
personnel of the two sides due to differences on their alignment
of the LAC. We have asked the Chinese side to maintain status quo
in this sector, by which I mean status quo prior to this
incident," the spokesperson said.
The term "face-to-face" is referred to the 2005 protocol for
implementing CBMs along the LAC. According to the protocol, when
border personnel of the two sides come face to face, they are to
exercise self-restraint and take all necessary steps to prevent
the situation from escalating, he said.
Terming the incident as a "localized event", the spokesperson said
that "overall, the India-China border area continues to remain
peaceful". Both sides have peacefully resolved similar incidents
in the past "and we hope to resolve this incident too peacefully",
the official added.
"This is a sector in which there are differing perceptions of the
LAC, and that is why we have since 1996 been maintaining that
there is need for both sides to work together in clarifying the
LAC," said the spokesperson.
According to reports, Chinese troops intruded 10 km into the
Indian territory in the area. Beijing has denied any incursion
across the Line of Actual Control, which is a notional line.
Indian and Chinese armies Tuesday held a brigadier-level flag
meeting to resolve the issue.
Flag meetings are a mechanism to deal with emergent situations.
They supplement the border personnel meetings that are held twice
a year at various points along the India-China border.
Listing out steps taken by India after the incident was reported
April 15, Akbaruddin said Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary (East
Asia), who chairs the working mechanism for consultation and
coordination on India-China border affairs, spoke to his
counterpart, who is the director general border affairs of the
Chinese foreign ministry.
"Subsequently on April 18, there was a flag meeting and following
that on April 18 evening, the foreign secretary (Ranjan Mathai)
expressed the concerns of the government of India to the
ambassador of China in Delhi," he said.
"In our view, we see this as a situation of differing perception,"
"We believe that this ongoing incident can be handled on the basis
of agreements between the two and through mechanisms established
to resolve such situations peacefully," he added.
Khurshid also said that India and China have set up a mechanism to
resolve border issues. He also reiterated that both sides have
made progress in their bilateral ties and it is not necessary to
raise a question on such issues.
The minister added that India will take "necessary action" in the
Defence Minister A.K. Antony had said Monday that India will take
"every step" to protect its interests to resolve the situation
arising out of the alleged incursion by Chinese troops into Indian
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying had said Monday
that "China's frontier troops have been abiding by the agreement
between the two countries and abiding by the LAC agreed by the two
"Our frontier troops have been patrolling on the China's side of
LAC," Hua had said, adding: "Our troops are patrolling on the
Chinese side of the LAC and have never trespassed the line."