MEA: India, China have maintained communication links at ground level


The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday said that India and China have maintained communication links at the ground level to avoid any misunderstandings, even as the two sides are waiting for the next round of senior commander-level talks with respect to the military standoff in eastern Ladakh.

During the weekly briefing, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the last round of diplomatic talks at the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination took place on December 18 “and the two sides have agreed to hold the next round of senior commanders meeting, and they are in constant communication through diplomatic and military channels…”

Srivastava said, “In the meantime, both sides have maintained communication at the ground level to avoid any misunderstandings and misjudgements, even as discussions continue for achieving complete disengagement in all friction areas in accordance with existing bilateral agreements to restore peace and tranquillity.”

When asked about the 39 Indian sailors stranded in China, Srivastava said the Indian Ambassador in China “has again personally taken up this issue with the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, and had requested for early approval of crew exchange”. He said that in Delhi, the MEA is in regular contact with the Chinese embassy.

He said, “Chinese authorities have detailed steps, which they have outlined, to ensure smooth movement of new crew to China to affect this crew change…. (and) steps have to be complied to by the concerned shipping companies.”

Regarding “exploring alternative modes of crew change for sea”, Srivastava said the possibility has also been taken up by Chinese authorities and they have “indicated that the details for these options are being worked out”.

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