China's envoy to India however remains non-committal on pulling back its own troops from India's side of the LAC

The Indian Army must undo the “pre-emptive” moves it recently carried out on the south bank of Pangong Tso (lake), Beijing’s envoy to New Delhi, Sun Weidong, said on Monday, even as he refrained to commit withdrawal of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from the territory of India.

Less than a week after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi agreed on five points during a meeting in Moscow, Beijing insisted on withdrawal of the Indian Army’s front-line troops from the face-off scenes on the south bank of Pangong Tso for the success of the consensus in resolving the stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

Sun, Beijing’s envoy to New Delhi, on Monday, referred to the August 31 statement issued by the Ministry of Defence of the Government of India claiming that the Indian Army troops had pre-empted a military move by the Chinese PLA on the southern bank of Pangong Tso. He said that the statement itself “revealed” that the Indian Army had illegally crossed the LAC and changed the status quo in the border areas. 

He cited media-reports to allege that Indian Army soldiers engaged in the stand-off with the Chinese PLA personnel had opened fire on two different occasions. “For the first time since 1975, the calm in the border areas was broken by gunfire,” China’s ambassador to India said in a statement issued in New Delhi on Monday.

He also quoted Wang telling Jaishankar during the meeting in Moscow on September 10 that it was important to immediately stop provocations such as firing and other dangerous actions that violated the commitments made by the two sides. “It is also important to move back all personnel and equipment that have trespassed. The frontier troops must quickly disengage so that the situation may deescalate,” Sun quoted the Chinese Foreign Minister telling the External Affairs Minister. 

He, however, maintained silence on New Delhi’s demand for withdrawal of the Chinese PLA soldiers, who transgressed into the territory of India, not only on the northern bank of Pangong Tso but also on several other points on the LAC – the de facto boundary between the two nations in the western sector – over the past four months.

Sun had on July 30 claimed that the entire northern bank of Pangong Tso belonged to China.

Jaishankar and Wang had a meeting on the side-line of a conclave of the Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Moscow last Thursday. They agreed that the current situation in India-China border areas was “not in the interest of either side” and hence the Indian Army and the Chinese PLA “should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease the tension”, according to a joint statement issued early on Friday.