Border disengagement happening at slower pace: Jaishankar tells Wang

New Delhi, March 25 (IANS) External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said on Friday that during his meeting with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, he told the latter that the disengagement of troops at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh is a “work in progress”, but is happening at a “slower pace” than desired.
Addressing the media after the meeting, Jaishankar said: “My talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi have just concluded. We met for about three hours and addressed a broad and substantive agenda in an open and candid manner. We discussed our bilateral relations that have been disturbed as a result of Chinese actions in April 2020.
“So long as there are very large deployments, the border situation is not normal. We still have ongoing friction areas and have made progress in resolving some friction areas, including Pangong Tso. Our discussion today was how to take this forward. There have been 15 rounds of talks.
“If you ask me if our relationship today is normal, then my answer is no, it is not normal. Our effort today is to sort out the issue in its entirety.”
China’s People’s Liberation Army made an aggressive move at the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh in April 2020 leading to the border dispute between India and China.
The dispute is yet to be resolved even after over two years.
Jaishankar further said that he told Wang the current situation is a “work in progress, obviously, at a slower pace than desirable”.
“This needs to be taken forward since completion of the disengagement at LAC is necessary.”
Jaishankar also said that he raised the issue of Indian students studying in China who have not been allowed to return and resume their education due to Covid-19 restrictions
“I also took up strongly the predicament of Indian students studying in China who haven’t been allowed to return citing Covid restrictions. We hope China will take a non-discriminatory approach since it involves future of many young people.”
Before his talks with Jaishankar, Wang met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in his office in South Block and extended an invitation to visit China.
Replying to the invitation, Doval said he could visit after the immediate issues were resolved successfully, according to sources.
Doval also discussed the need to take forward early and complete disengagement in remaining areas and remove impediments to allow the bilateral relationship to take its natural course.
He also conveyed to Wang that restoration of peace and tranquility will help build mutual trust and create enabling environment for progress in relations
Wang’s visit marks the first trip by a high-level Chinese official since the border dispute erupted.

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