Jaishankar, Wang Yi discuss border row, resumption of direct flights

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Jaishankar, Wang Yi discuss border row, resumption of direct flights

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi held a one-hour meeting in the Indonesian city of Bali on Thursday, focusing on the lingering border row in eastern Ladakh, the issue of return of Indian students to China and the resumption of direct flights between the two countries.

The talks took place on the sidelines of a meeting of the foreign ministers of the G 20 countries.

Jaishankar tweeted that the talks focused on specific outstanding issues pertaining to the border situation, in an oblique reference to the two-year old military standoff along the Line of Actual Control LAC in eastern Ladakh.

My day started in Bali by meeting FM Wang Yi of China. The discussion lasted for an hour. The external affairs minister said that the bilateral relationship was focused on specific outstanding issues relating to the border situation.

India has been pressing for a quick disengagement of troops from all the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh to ensure the situation is de-escalation, asserting that peace and tranquillity along the border are the pre-requisites for progress in overall ties.

Jaishankar said there was also talk about other matters including students and flights.

Over two years, thousands of Indian students were unable to return to China due to Beijing's COVID 19 restrictions. India has taken up the issue with China a number of times.

There have been discussions between the two sides on the resumption of direct flights, but there has been no forward movement on the issue. The flight services were suspended due to the Pandemic.

Since Wang visited India on March 24 and 25, it was the first meeting between the two foreign ministers.

In May, India and China held diplomatic talks on the border row and agreed to hold the next round of the Senior Commanders' meeting at an early date to achieve complete disengagement from all friction points in eastern Ladakh. Both sides are yet to decide on the military talks.

After a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas, the border between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5, 2020.

The face-off escalated after the Galwan Valley clashes on June 15th that year.

Both sides gradually increased their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers and heavy weaponry.

The two sides completed the disengagement process last year in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area as a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks.

Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive sector.