China, India Agree to Disengage Troops, Ease Tensions on Disputed Border

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

China and India said they had agreed to de-escalate renewed tensions on their disputed Himalayan border and to take measures to restore "peace and tranquility" following a high-level diplomatic meeting in Moscow.

Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi and Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar met in Moscow on Thursday and reached a five-point consensus, including agreements that the current border situation is not in their interests and that troops from both sides should rapidly disengage and ease tensions, both countries said in a joint statement.

The consensus struck on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting came after a confrontation in the western Himalayas border region earlier this week.

Shares of defence-related firms fell in China early Friday after the news, with the CSI National Defense Industry Index down 1.2 percent and on track for its steepest weekly decline since October 12, 2018. Tongyu Heavy Industry shares tumbled as much as 16.4 percent.

During the conflict, China and India accused each other of shooting into the air, a violation of long-held practice not to use weapons on sensitive frontiers.

During the meeting, Wang told Jaishankar that "the imperative is to immediately halt provocations like firing and other dangerous acts that breach the commitments made by both sides," China's foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Wang also told Jaishankar all personnel and equipment that have trespassed at the border must be moved and that frontier troops on both sides “must quickly disengage” in order to de-escalate the situation.

The comments contrast with recent Chinese military display of power. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) announced on Wednesday that China's Global Times, an influential tabloid published by the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party, was pushing troops, bombers and armored vehicles into the border.

Chinese state media also recently reported armed jump drills by PLA paratroopers in Tibet.

The Global Times said in an editorial published late Thursday that any talks with India should be paired with “war readiness”.

“The Chinese side must be fully prepared to take military action when diplomatic engagement fails, and its frontline troops must be able to respond to emergencies, and be ready to fight at any time,” the newspaper said.

“India has abnormal confidence in confronting China. It does not have enough strength. If India is kidnapped by extreme nationalist forces and keeps following its radical China policy, it will pay a heavy price.”

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