India, China going through 'bad patch' in bilateral ties: Jaishankar

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2020, file photo, an Indian army convoy moves on the Srinagar- Ladakh highway at Gagangeer, northeast of Srinagar, Kashmir. India and China have stationed tens of thousands of soldiers backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along the de facto border called the Line of Actual Control in the Ladakh region   | Photo Credit: AP

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said on Friday that India and China were going through a “particularly bad patch” in their ties because Beijing had taken a set of actions in violation of agreements for which it still did not have a “credible explanation” and it was for the Chinese leadership to answer where they wanted to take the bilateral relationship.

India had told China that progress in the disengagement process in eastern Ladakh was essential for the restoration of peace and tranquillity and that it was the basis for the development of overall bilateral ties.

During his previous meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe on September 16, Mr. Jaishankar emphasised that the two sides should work towards early resolution of the remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols.

“I don’t think the Chinese have any doubt on where we stand on our relationship and what’s not gone right with it. I’ve been meeting my counterpart Wang Yi a number of times. As you would’ve experienced, I speak fairly clear, reasonably understandably [and] there is no lack of clarity so if they want to hear it, I am sure they would have heard it,” Mr. Jaishankar said in response to a question at a panel discussion on “Greater Power Competition: The Emerging World Order” at the Bloomberg New Economic Forum in Singapore.

“We are going through a particularly bad patch in our relationship because they have taken a set of actions in violation of agreements for which they still don’t have a credible explanation and that indicates some rethink about where they want to take our relationship, but that’s for them to answer,” he further said, in an apparent reference to the eastern Ladakh border clash with China.

The eastern Ladakh border stand-off between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5 last year following a violent clash in the Pangong Lake areas and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.

The tension escalated following a deadly clash in the Galwan Valley on June 15 last year.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in the north and south banks of the Pangong Lake in February and in the Gogra area in August. The last round of military talks on October 10 to end the stand-off in the remaining friction points along the LAC in eastern Ladakh ended in a stalemate.

14th round of talks

Meanwhile, on Thursday the two sides agreed to hold the 14th round of military talks at an early date to achieve the objective of complete disengagement in remaining friction points along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

Mr. Jaishankar also dismissed as “ridiculous” the notion that the United States had been strategically contracting and yielding space to others amidst a global rebalancing of power.

He said the U.S. was today a much more flexible partner, much more open to ideas, suggestions, and working arrangements than in the past.

“Don’t confuse it with the decline of the United States. I think that’s ridiculous,” he said in response to a question from the moderator at the session, also attended by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

“It’s clear China has been expanding. But the nature of China, the manner of its growing influence is very different. And we don’t have a situation where China necessarily replaces the United States. Well, it’s natural to think of China, U.S. [and] China as the overarching happening. The fact is, there are also a lot of other countries including India, which have come much more into play. There’s been a rebalancing in the world,” he said.

Citing Quad as an example, he pointed out that some countries were coming together on a certain set of concerns and issues or interests. The Quad comprising India, Japan, the U.S. and Australia was formed to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the resource-rich Indo-Pacific free of any influence.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 11:58:32 AM |

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