China calls for delinking boundary from overall ties

Jaishankar had underlined India’s view that peace on border was a prerequisite for rest of relationship to develop

Published - January 29, 2021 07:45 pm IST

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. File

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. File

China on Friday said it “appreciates” External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar emphasising the importance of India-China relations but reiterated its calls for the boundary dispute to “not be linked with the overall bilateral relations”.

In a speech on Thursday, Mr. Jaishankar said the relationship needed to be built on “mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests”. He outlined eight propositions to take the ties forward after what he called a year of “exceptional stress”.

Mr. Jaishankar underlined India’s view that peace on the border was a prerequisite for the rest of the relationship to develop. China’s actions last year had “not only signalled a disregard for commitments about minimising troop levels” but also “showed a willingness to breach the peace and tranquility” on the border that had been the foundation of the relationship. The advancement of ties, he added, was “predicated on ensuring that peace and tranquility was not disturbed, and the Line of Actual Control [LAC] was both observed and respected by both sides.”

Asked by the official media in Beijing to respond to his remarks, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the ministry “noted Minister Jaishankar’s remarks.”

“He stressed the importance of India-China relations; it shows the Indian side attaches importance to the ties with China, we appreciate this,” Mr. Zhao said. “Meanwhile, we stress that the boundary issue shall not be linked with the overall bilateral relations. That is important experience we have gathered through the countries many years efforts to keep the ties moving forward. We hope the Indian side will work with us to properly manage difference, promote practical cooperation and bring bilateral relations back on track.”

India’s economic measures

China has in recent months hit out at India’s economic measures, such as the banning of apps and tightening the curbs on investment, saying events on the border should not be linked to other aspects of relations.

India has reiterated its view that such a proposition is untenable, and normal relations can’t be restored until there is peace on the border and a full restoration of the status quo, prior to last summer’s transgressions.

Mr. Jaishankar underlined that view in his speech, saying that any expectation that the events on the border “can be brushed aside and that life can carry on undisturbed despite the situation in the border is simply not realistic.”

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