Joint Press Statement - Meeting of External Affairs Minister and the Foreign Minister of China (September 10, 2020)
September 10, 2020
H.E. Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India met H.E. Wang Yi, State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China on 10th September in Moscow on the side-lines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting. Both Ministers had a frank and constructive discussion on the developments in the India-China border areas as well as on India-China relations and agreed as follows:
1. The two Ministers agreed that both sides should take guidance from the series of consensus of the leaders on developing India-China relations, including not allowing differences to become disputes.
2. The two Foreign Ministers agreed that the current situation in the border areas is not in the interest of either side. They agreed therefore that the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions.
3. The two Ministers agreed that both sides shall abide by all the existing agreements and protocol on China-India boundary affairs, maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas and avoid any action that could escalate matters.
4. The two sides also agreed to continue to have dialogue and communication through the Special Representative mechanism on the India-China boundary question. They also agreed in this context that the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs (WMCC), should also continue its meetings.
5. The Ministers agreed that as the situation eases, the two sides should expedite work to conclude new Confidence Building Measures to maintain and enhance peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
September 10, 2020
The statement is notable for what it leaves out - specifics
- No reference to LAC : Looks like both sides have recognised that given all that has happened on the ground in the past few weeks, LAC as it existed before April 2020 has no relevance now. And neither side is willing to consider the current respective positions as the "new/de facto" LAC.
- No reference to status quo ante: China has never agreed to it in the previous statements, India seems to have dropped this approach as well. Presumably because we are occupying better positions now, and are in no mood to give up.
- "Consensus of leaders" presumably refers to the outcome of Wuhan and Mamallapuram summits that have been far from consensual.
So this consensus part refers to no specific point, but actually points back to Xitler directly to take full responsibility for the current situation and his spurning of Modi's extended hand of friendship, saying one thing to Modi and doing something else, often hiding behind the rest of the Chinese establishment which keeps making statements contrary to what was discussed. Above all, it puts the spotlight on Xitler to own up to the consequences of what happens next.
- "Abide by all existing agreements" makes it clear who has not been abiding.
- More talks through SRs - Shri Doval & the same Wang Yi who discussed with S Jaishankar just now ? What will Wang do with Doval that he could not with SJ ? Looks like a good cop / bad cop routine.
- More talks through WMCC - Our Mil rep.s are clear that they won't back off, China Mil Reps/Commissars are remote controlled by CCP. At best this will prevent immediate escalation and keep some talking going on, but no breakthrough can be achieved unless Xitler decides to change some positions.
- CBMs - again very vague, and more talks will be needed between different levels to determine what these CBMs should be, even before coming to how to implement them in what timelines.
If immediate cooling down of the situation and pullback is expected, the outcome of these talks will not result in that. And thats actually quite OK. If China expected India to blink, that has not happened.
The purposefully vague references indicate that India is playing a different game now. We are telling them time is on our side, we are in no hurry. We will continue to take 1s and 2s in these middle overs, when winter power play starts we will have enough wickets in hand to hit the ball all the way to pacific sea board.