There has always been some friction along the India-China border but for quite some time now, the region lay dormant without much animosity. However, the situation changed in June when the armed forces of both the countries clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and this clash resulted in casualties on both sides. Following this, the situation immediately grew tense with the troops getting into battle readiness and armaments have been amassed along the border on both sides. Since then, the situation has been growing more tense with regular skirmishes between the Indian Army personnel and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China. Just a couple of days back, there was another serious clash and for the first time in over 45 years, shots were fired along the LAC.

In this backdrop, many levels of talks including military, political and diplomatic, have been happening but with no improvement in the border situation. Now, the Foreign Ministers of India and China met in Moscow, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), and discussed the border issue. The Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi, met in Moscow and discussed the border issue for over 2 hours. This meeting happened just about six days after the Defence Ministers of both the countries also met face-to-face, on September 4th! Reports state that the meeting began after a delay, as there were earlier appointments at the SCO.

After the meeting between the two ministers, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a press statement, mentioning that a 5-point consensus had been arrived at, during this meeting. Within the next hour, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs released a "joint statement", detailing the 5 points of consensus reached after a "frank and constructive" discussion. The five points read:

1. 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. 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 (WMCC) on India-China border affairs 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.

Though the topic of immediate disengagement along the LAC was talked about, nothing about it has been mentioned in the releases. It remains to be seen as to how the disengagement issue is to be addressed, going forward. Stay tuned for updates...