External Affairs minister S Jaishankar has told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that the two sides should work for an early resolution of the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh to restore peace and tranquility in the border areas as this has been an essential basis for progress in Sino-India ties.
As Jaishankar conveyed his views at a meeting with Wang on the sidelines of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Tajikistan capital Dushanbe on Thursday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement on Friday said Minister Wang hoped India will meet China halfway to move the border situation towards stability and shift it from "urgent dispute settlement to regular management and control."
Jaishankar also asserted it is essential that China avoid viewing its ties with India through the "lens of a third country" to which Beijing said it "agrees". Observing that Sino-India relations have their own "intrinsic logic", China said the ties do not target any "third party and are not based on any third party."
In a statement, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said the two ministers exchanged views on the current situation along the Line of Actual Control(LAC) in eastern Ladakh as well as on global developments. The two sides agreed that military and diplomatic officials of India and China should meet again and continue their discussions to resolve the remaining issues at the earliest, it added.
The statement said Jaishankar underlined that it was necessary to ensure progress in the resolution of remaining issues so as to restore peace and tranquillity along the LAC in eastern Ladakh as such an atmosphere in the border areas has been an essential basis for progress in the bilateral relations.
Jaishankar also told Wang that India had never subscribed to any "clash of civilisations theory" and that Asian solidarity would depend on the example set by India-China relations, it added.
He also said the two sides need to establish a relationship based on "mutual respect" for which it was necessary that China avoid viewing the ties with India from the perspective of its relations with third countries, the statement said.
On Twitter, Jaishankar said: "It is also essential that China does not view its relations with India through the lens of a third country."
While Jaishankar mentioned "a third country", the statement by the MEA talked about "third countries".
It is learnt that the two sides also exchanged views on developments in Afghanistan after the Taliban's takeover of the country last month.
The MEA statement said Jaishankar recalled that Wang had in their last meeting on July 14 noted that the bilateral relations were at a low ebb.
It said both sides at the July 14 meeting had agreed that a prolongation of the existing situation was not in the interest of either side as it was impacting the relationship in a negative manner.
At that meeting, Jaishankar told Wang that any unilateral change in the status quo along the LAC was "not acceptable" to India and that the overall ties can only develop after full restoration of peace and tranquillity in eastern Ladakh.
"The EAM, therefore, emphasised that the two sides should work towards early resolution of the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols," the MEA statement said.
"The external affairs minister noted that since their last meeting on July 14, the two sides had made some progress in the resolution of the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh and had completed the disengagement in Gogra area.
"However, there were still some outstanding issues that needed to be resolved," it added.
Wang and Jaishankar had earlier met on the sidelines of a conclave of the SCO in Dushanbe on July 14.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry statement on the Thursday talks quoted Minister Wang as saying that "China has always been positive to seek a proper solution to the China-India border issue".
Wang noted that the recent communication between the two sides through the foreign and military departments was earnest and effective, and the overall situation in the border area was "gradually de-escalated", it said.
"Both sides need to consolidate the disengagement results of the front-line troops, and strictly abide by the protocols and agreements and the consensus reached between the two countries, to jointly safeguard the peace and tranquillity of the border area and prevent the recurrence of border-related issues", he added.
Asked for his reaction to Jaishankar's remarks that China avoid viewing its ties with India through the "lens of a third country", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing in Beijing that "we agree with the remarks from the Indian side".
"China and India are both important Asian countries. For the two countries to develop relations there is an inherent necessary logic. China-India relations never target any third party," Zhao said.
To a follow up question, Zhao said, "the development of India-China relations follow its own intrinsic logic. China-India relations do not target any third party and are not based on any third party", he said.
At Thursday's meeting, the two ministers also exchanged views on the recent global developments.
"The EAM conveyed that India had never subscribed to any clash of civilisations theory. He said that India and China had to deal with each other on merits and establish a relationship based on mutual respect," the MEA statement said.
"For this, it was necessary that China avoid viewing our bilateral relations from the perspective of its relations with third countries. Asian solidarity would depend on the example set by India-China relations," it said.
The Chinese statement quoted Wang as also having said at the meeting that as two major emerging economies, China and India must continue to uphold the strategic consensus of being opportunities of development to each other rather than threats, push the bilateral relationship and practical cooperation onto a healthy and stable track.
"It serves the common interests of the two countries and benefits regional and world peace and development," the Chinese foreign minister said.
The border standoff between the armies of India and China erupted on May 5 last year following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area in eastern Ladakh and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in Gogra area last month.
In February, the two sides completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the north and south banks of the Pangong lake in line with an agreement on disengagement.
Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive sector.