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India, China agree to de-escalate tensions after deadly border clash

India and China said on Tuesday they had agreed to de-escalate tensions over a deadly border clash as their foreign ministers joined a virtual meeting hosted by their Russian counterpart.

Moscow/Beijing/New Delhi, 23 June 2020 (dpa/MIA) – India and China said on Tuesday they had agreed to de-escalate tensions over a deadly border clash as their foreign ministers joined a virtual meeting hosted by their Russian counterpart.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a briefing in Beijing that Indian and Chinese border forces had reached a “common understanding” to take necessary measures to cool the tensions.

That sentiment was echoed by sources in the Indian military.

Russia, a key ally of both India and China, said it would refrain from mediating in the dispute, according to comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who expressed optimism following the meeting.

The Indian and Chinese diplomats demonstrated “closeness of their approaches to the key problems of today,” Lavrov said in comments carried by Russian state news agency TASS.

The three countries’ defence ministers are set to meet in the near future, TASS reported.

In a show of solidarity, Indian and Chinese troops are to march together with Russian forces on Wednesday in a grand parade in Moscow to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

On Monday, Indian and Chinese military commanders met at the Moldo outpost on the Chinese side of the disputed Himalayan border to defuse tension over the June 15 clash at a disputed point on their Himalayan border.

Twenty Indian soldiers were reported killed in hand-to-hand combat with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.

While Indian media reports claim Chinese soldiers were also killed, Beijing has not released any such information.

Both countries have accused the other of provoking the clash, part of a decades-long dispute over parts of their 3,500-kilometre frontier along the Himalayan range.

Monday’s commander-level talks were cordial and constructive, Indian military sources told dpa.

“It was decided that the modalities for disengagement from all areas in eastern Ladakh would be taken forward by both sides,” one of the sources said.

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