External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Monday reassured China that New Delhi’s decision to exercise greater administrative control over Ladakh would have no implications for India’s external boundaries or the Line of Actual Control with China.
“The legislative measures were aimed at better governance and socio-economic development,” he told his Chinese interlocutors, referring to India’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and making Ladakh, which borders China, a Union Territory.
‘No territorial claims’
“There was no implication for the external boundaries of India or the Line of Actual Control with China. India was not raising any additional territorial claims. The Chinese concerns in this regard were misplaced,” he said.
Mr. Jaishankar’s remarks follow the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s earlier response that India had “continued to damage China’s territorial sovereignty by unilaterally modifying the form of domestic law.” The Chinese Foreign Office had also said that this practice was “unacceptable” and it would not have any effect.
Speaking to the Indian media, Mr. Jaishankar said he had pointed out that regarding the boundary question, the two sides had agreed to a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement based on the 2005 Political Parameters and Guiding Principles.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar told the Indian media on Monday that in his talks, China had raised the question of Aksai Chin — a territory claimed by India, but which is under Chinese control.
Regarding India’s decision to withdraw special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Jaishankar said that he had told his hosts that “this was an internal matter for India.” “The issue related to changes in a temporary provision of the Constitution of India and was the sole prerogative of the country.”
He said his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi had also referred to rising tension between India and Pakistan as a result of these changes. In his response, Mr. Jaishankar said he had emphasised that “these changes had no bearing on Pakistan as it was an internal matter.”
“It did not impact the Line of Control (LoC). Where India-Pakistan relations are concerned, the Chinese side should base its assessment on realities,” he had told Mr. Wang.
“India as a responsible power had shown restraint in the face of provocative Pakistani rhetoric and actions. India has always stood for normalisation of the ties in an atmosphere free of terror,” he noted.
Asked if he had objected to China’s reference to the UN charter and UN Security Council resolutions to resolve the Kashmir issue following Mr. Wang’s talks with visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday, Mr. Jaishankar said: “I am not here to have an argument with something they (the Chinese) did with Pakistan or some other country. I am here to represent my position and have a conversation with my counterpart. My counterpart raised certain issues related to legislative changes in India. I replied to that.”
Mr. Jaishankar said discussions were also held on the situation in Afghanistan. “The Chinese Foreign Minister shared his assessment because they have been talking to various parties. He gave his assessment. We had a fairly detailed conversation.” There was also a dialogue on the Bangladesh China India Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor, he added.