No deal with China, says Salman Khurshid; India removed tin shed at Chumar

FPForeign Minister Salman Khurshid with MoS, PMO, V Narayanasamy at Parliament on Wednesday.

A tin shed structure put up by the Indian troops at Chumar area in Ladakh, three days after the Chinese incursion in Depsang, was the bargaining chip that led to a resolution between the two countries.

Sources said the Indian side started building the structure around the time that Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai called Chinese ambassador Wei Wei on April 18 to his South Block office to put forward India's demand to "restore the status quo" prior to the incursion. The tin shelter was located about 7-8 km ahead of India's most forward permanent structure in the area. China claims the site as its territory, while Delhi claims otherwise.

Mathai decided to call in the Chinese envoy after the Chinese government, under the joint working mechanism, gave "vague" and "non-credible" responses to MEA Joint Secretary Gautam Bambawale. While Mathai and Bambawale made over 25 calls in three weeks, Indian ambassador to China S Jaishankar told Chinese officials that the incident "will affect bilateral relations", sources said.

Jaishankar met the Chinese side at least thrice to convey Delhi's message for restoring status quo. However, New Delhi never threatened to cancel Chinese premier Li Keqiang's visit slated for May 19.

When the Chinese troops dismantled their tents on May 5, the Indian side too removed their tin shed structure. Sources said status quo was confirmed at the flag meeting on May 6 and the arrangement was confirmed to South Block on May 7. However, the Indian troops will continue to patrol the Chumar area.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday said there was "no deal" between India and China for ending the 21-day stand-off. "No deals in international levels... we do not do deals at this level," he said.

Asked about his visit to China starting May 9, Khurshid said, "We will talk about the future, and our leadership is committed towards that and the great things India and China can and must do together." He is expected to call on Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi among others.

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