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Published On: Fri, Oct 16th, 2020

Border clashes between India & China left relationship profoundly disturbed: Jaishankar

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jaishankarNEW DELHI : The violent clashes on the India-China border in June had a very deep public and major political impact and has left the relationship “profoundly disturbed”, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said on Friday.
The presence of a large number of Chinese troops in the Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) presents a critical security challenge to India and has disturbed the relationship built by the two sides over 30 years.
“There are today a very large number of troops with weapons concentrated on that segment of the border and that is obviously a very critical security challenge that we face.”
Participating in a discussion on global challenges confronting India along with former Australian premier Kevin Rudd for Asia Society, Jaishankar expressed surprise at the nearly six-month border standoff, especially since it followed the efforts by India and China to improve their ties through two informal summits.
Tensions had escalated manifold between India and China after the Galwan Valley clashes in eastern Ladakh on June 15 in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army(PLA)  also suffered an unspecified number of casualties.

Jaishankar, speaking at a virtual event hosted by the Asia Society, said that India has built the relationship with China over the course of last 30 years “and a basis for building that relationship has been peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control”.

He said there are multiple agreements, starting from 1993, which created the framework for that peace and tranquility, which limited the military forces that came to the border areas, how to manage the border, how border troops behave when they approach each other.

“So, from the conceptual level down to the behavioural level, there was an entire sort of framework out there. Now, what we saw this year was a departure from this entire series of agreements. The massing of a large number of Chinese forces on the border was clearly contrary to all of this.
“To underline the enormity of that, it was the first military casualty we had after 1975. So what it has done is, it has obviously had a very deep public impact, very major political impact and it has left the relationship profoundly disturbed,” S Jaishankar said. The Galwan incident was the first military casualty after 1975 at the LAC between India and China. The build-up by the Chinese started in the month of May and since then they are present in the area.

When asked about the reason for Chinese aggressiveness with India at the LAC, the Jaishankar said, “I haven’t frankly got any reasonable explanation that I can tell from them on the matter”. He highlighted, “Large number of troops with weapons concentrated at that segment of border.. and it is a critical security challenge we face.”
He said that apart from the Wuhan Summit in April 2018, there was a similar summit in Chennai in 2019 and the idea of the summit was that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping spend time, talk to each other directly about their concerns. “What happened this year of course was a very sharp departure. Now it’s not just a sharp departure from the conversation, it’s a sharp departure over a course of relationship over 30 years.”
He said.
he said, noting that the two sides “painstakingly” built their ties since former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to Beijing in 1988 despite India’s concerns on trade issues and China’s relationship with Pakistan.
The informal summits between PM Modi and President Xi Jinping at Wuhan in 2018 and at Mamallapuram in 2019 provided an opportunity to the two leaders to spend time and directly talk to each other “about their concerns” without any bureaucratic filters, Jaishankar said.
“[India is] still dealing with the perennial issues – terrorism from Pakistan continues, and terrorism remains publicly acknowledged by their government as a policy that they are justifying,” he said. “It makes it very hard to conduct normal relations with them.”

In response to a question on what did the Chinese actually do on the border and why they did it, S Jaishankar said: “I haven”t frankly got any reasonable explanation that I can tell myself from them on this matter.
(With Agency Inputs ).




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