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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Jaishankar says situation with China remains ‘very fragile’, ‘dangerous’ in the Himalayan front

Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said the situation with China still remains very fragile and dangerous, as per military assessment, as there are places where deployments of troops are very close. 

Speaking at the India Today Conclave 2023, Jaishankar categorically pointed out that ties between India and China cannot go back to normal unless all outstanding border issues are resolved in line with the September 2020 agreement. 

Over bilateral ties between the two Asian giants, the Indian foreign minister said the relationship has entered a “challenging and abnormal phase” due to the increased tensions at the Himalayan border and along the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh.

“The situation to my mind still remains very fragile because there are places where our deployments are very close up and in military assessment therefore quite dangerous,” S Jaishankar said. 

Galwan Valley 2020 clashes were the worst in the last four decades. On 15 June 2020, patrols engaged in a bloody confrontation in Galwan Valley that claimed the lives of four PLA soldiers and about twenty Indian soldiers.

In September 2020, Jaishankar and his then-Chinese counterpart Wang Yi came to an agreement on a five-point course of action to disengage and ease tensions. However, tensions continued as troops clashed again in December 2022 close to the Tawang area in Arunachal Pradesh. India at the time said that Chinese forces tried to unilaterally change the status quo. 

India and China remained engaged in many Corps Commander-level talks to resolve the dispute. 

“The Chinese have to deliver on what was agreed to, and they have struggled with that.” He said the two sides disengaged from many areas however talks are still ongoing for other unresolved issues. 

“We have made it very clear to the Chinese that we cannot have a breach of peace and tranquility, you can’t violate agreement and want the rest of the relationship to continue as though nothing happened. That’s just not tenable.”

Speaking about his most recent encounter with the new Chinese foreign minister, Qin Gang, Jaishankar said he discussed the border issues during his meeting. Qin arrived in India for G20 foreign ministers meeting that was hosted by New Delhi. 

On India’s G20 presidency, Jaishankar said, “The G20 should not be a debating club or an arena only of the global north. The entirety of global concerns need to be captured. We have already made that point very forcefully.” The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has cast a shadow on India’s G20 presidency where the West and Russia remained divided over the war. 

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