External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said on Thursday he had discussed the “abnormal” current state of relations with China and the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), as he held bilateral talks with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang.
The meeting — a first between the two Ministers, with Mr. Qin having been appointed in December 2022 — was focused on addressing “challenges in the bilateral relationship” and specifically the peace and tranquillity in the border, Mr. Jaishankar said, adding that both also discussed the G20 agenda.
“The thrust of our talks was on challenges in the bilateral relationship and the peace and tranquillity at the LAC,” he said. “Our talks were about the current state of our relationship which many of you heard me describe as abnormal, those were among adjectives that I used in the meeting. There are real problems that need to be discussed openly and candidly and that is what we did today.”
The two sides last week held their first in-person high-level border talks in more than three years, with Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs Shilpak Ambule travelling to Beijing for the 26th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs. The two sides discussed proposals for disengaging in two remaining friction areas to create conditions to “restore normalcy” in relations, and agreed to hold the next round of talks between senior military commanders at an early date.
Mr. Qin, in his remarks to the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting, called for the grouping “to practice true multilateralism, uphold the U.N.-centered international system and the international order based on international law, and observe the basic norms of international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter.”
“No one should engage in power politics or even bloc confrontation,” he said, adding that “global development and prosperity cannot be achieved without a peaceful and stable international environment.” “With this in mind, China has put forward the Global Security Initiative, and issued the position paper on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis. China will always stand on the side of peace, actively promote peace talks, and play a constructive role.”
In bilateral talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the meeting, both sides hailed the closeness of their strategic partnership, which the two countries have recently described as being the best period in their history. Mr. Qin told Mr. Lavrov relations had “set a new paradigm for a new type of major power relations,” the Foreign Ministry in Beijing said in a statement, and on Ukraine, criticised those who were “pouring oil on the fire”.