China says agrees with India to ease tensions on contested border after deadly clashes
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 23 June 2020 5:56 PM
China and India have reached an agreement to defuse border tensions, days after their deadliest clashes in more than half a century on the disputed Himalayan border claimed the lives of 20 Indian troopers in fierce hand-to-hand fighting.
The agreement was made after talks between the top regional military commanders on Monday, said China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Tuesday, adding that both sides "agreed to take necessary measures to promote a cooling of the situation."
"The holding of this meeting shows that both sides want to deal with their disagreement, manage the situation and de-escalate the situation through dialogue and consultations," he further said at a regular press conference in capital Beijing.
Zhao also noted that both sides had exchanged "frank and in-depth view" and agreed to continue dialogue and committed to promote peace and tranquility in the border areas in a jointly manner.
Separately, the Press Trust of India said in a statement that the meeting had been held between Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, commander of the 14 Corps, from India and Major General Liu Lin, commander of the Tibet Military District, from China.
On June 15, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the fighting in the Galwan Valley, a precipitous and rocky border area that lies between China's Tibet and India's Ladakh regions. There were no confirmed reports of Chinese casualties. Each side blamed the other for the incident.
Reports said that soldiers from the two sides fought with fists, clubs and rocks in the brutal battle, in which troops have been killed for the first time on their frontier since 1967 and marked a major deterioration in ties between the two nuclear-armed Asian giants.
There was no official comment from New Delhi regarding the Monday agreement but AFP quoted an unnamed Indian army source as saying that after the meeting, reportedly lasting almost 11 hours, there was a "mutual consensus to disengage."
The first meeting, attended by lower-ranking officers, was held last Thursday.
In the wake of deadly clashes, the Indian Foreign Ministry accused Beijing of having "pre-meditated and planned" the fighting.
China, however, said Indian troops had violated a military agreement and attacked its troops in the Galwan valley in Ladakh.
Renewed tensions have fanned anti-Chinese sentiment in the capital New Delhi, with an Indian confederation of companies demanding a boycott of Chinese products.
China is India's second-biggest trading partner, with bilateral trade worth $87 billion in the fiscal year ending March 2019. This has prompted the Chinese media to call on Indians "to cool down."
China's official newspaper, the Global Times, said that the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "is 5 times that of India, military spending 3 times."
The two Asian powerhouses have been in a long-time dispute over the Line of Actual Control frontier that divides their long joint border. They have also fought a brief war back in 1962.
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