External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has said that China has disregarded the border pacts with India, casting a shadow on the bilateral ties, as he asserted that a lasting relationship cannot be a one-way street and there has to be mutual respect.
Mr. Jaishankar, who arrived here on the first leg of his six-day visit to South America aimed at boosting overall bilateral ties with the region, made the remarks during his interaction with the Indian community here on Saturday.
While responding to a question on Sino-India ties, Mr. Jaishankar said India and China have agreements going back to the 1990s which prohibit bringing troops to the border area.
"They (Chinese) have disregarded that. You know what happened in the Galwan Valley a few years ago. That problem has not been resolved and that is clearly casting a shadow," Mr. Jaishankar said.
Chinese and Indian troops are engaged in a prolonged standoff in Eastern Ladakh. The two sides have so far held 16 rounds of Corps Commander-level talks to resolve the standoff which erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas.
Mr. Jaishankar, who was the Indian Ambassador to China from 2009 to 2013, said that a relationship cannot be a one-way street and mutual respect has to be there in order to sustain it.
"They are our neighbour and everybody wants to get along with their neighbour... But everybody wants to get along with their neighbour on reasonable terms. I must respect you and you must respect me," Mr. Jaishankar said.
"From our point of view, we've been very clear that if you have to build a relationship, then there has to be mutual respect. Each one will have their interests and we need to be sensitive to what the concerns are of the other party," he added.
“Relationships are a two-way street. A lasting relationship cannot be a one-way street. We need that mutual respect and mutual sensitivity,” he said, adding that it is no secret “we are going through a very difficult phase”.
Last week in Bangkok, Mr. Jaishankar had said that the relationship between India and China is going through an "extremely difficult phase" after what Beijing has done at the border and emphasised that the Asian Century will not happen if the two neighbours could not join hands.
"We very much hope that wisdom dawns on the Chinese side," he had said while replying to a question from the audience in Bangkok.
Besides Brazil, Mr. Jaishankar will visit Paraguay and Argentina, and it is his first trip to the South American region as the External Affairs Minister.
The visit is aimed at exploring new areas of cooperation in the post-pandemic era, the Ministry of External Affairs said.