‘China not complying with border pacts’

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External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, who is on his first trip to Brazil as the EAM added that the problem has not been resolved and was clearly casting a shadow in ties…reports Asian Lite News

The spectre of China disregarding border pacts is clearly influencing India-China bilateral relations, according to India’s External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar.

“Right now, we are going through a very difficult phase mainly because we have agreements with China going back to the 1990s, which prohibit bringing mass troops in the border area. They have disregarded that. You know what happened in the Galwan valley,” said Jaishankar while highlighting the ongoing standoff with China at an event on Sunday in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Eastern Ladakh has been the flashpoint between India and China for sometime now. Both sides have so far held 16 rounds of Corps Commander Level talks to break the logjam which erupted violently on May 5, 2020.

Jaishankar, who is on his first trip to Brazil as the EAM, added, “That problem has not been resolved and it is clearly casting a shadow.”

“They are our neighbours. Everybody wants to get along with their neighbour. In personal life and country-wise as well. But everybody wants to get along with on reasonable terms. I must respect you. You must respect me,” he said.

“So from our point of view, we have been very clear that we have to build the relationship and there has to be mutual respect. Each one will have their interests and we need to be sensitive to what the concerns are for others for a relationship to be built,” he added.

Insiders point out that India-China ties cannot progress meaningfully unless Beijing ends its incursion across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh and restores the status quo ante prior to the movement of its forces across the LAC in May 2020.

Unfortunately, the 15th round of India China Corps Commander level talks failed to provide any breakthrough. But the Beijing based news organisation Global Times did try to put a positive gloss on the talks, pointing out that the meeting concluded highlighting the positive atmosphere since the 14th round of talk, “as the two sides reached consensus on agreeing to maintain dialogue via military and diplomatic channels to reach a mutually acceptable resolution to the remaining issues at the earliest time.”

However, in India, policy makers are looking not at words but at action on the ground marked by disengagement from the border and restoration of the status quo ante as the basis for reviving ties and leveraging the new geopolitical situation arising out of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

A joint statement issued on Saturday said that talks would continue between the two sides to reach a mutually agreed resolution that would help in restoring peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) while boosting bilateral relations.

Just ahead of the much-awaited talks, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a press briefing that the two countries should not allow territorial disputes “to affect the overall interests of bilateral cooperation,” the newspaper said in another report.

“China-India relations have suffered some setbacks in recent years, which does not serve the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples,” it quoted Wang as saying.

Despite the heightened border tensions, bilateral trade between the two countries crossed a record $125.6 billion in 2021. In 2001, it was just $1.83 billion. However, the distrust between the two countries is evident as India has shut out Chinese companies in the lucrative 5G market. Besides, many Chinese apps have been shown the door following the border tensions.

As the Russia-Ukraine conflict intensified, the US and countries in the European Union are closely monitoring developments in this region. India and China together account for about 36 per cent of the world population.

Interestingly, India along with China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan among several others in Asia as well as Africa have been on the same page in relation to the Russia-Ukraine issue. The BRICS bloc comprising India, China, Brazil, and South Africa besides Russia has also taken a similar stand towards the ongoing conflict.

“We have taken a pragmatic view of the India China border issue as well… economic and trade related activities have not been dented and there has been no disruption of the supply chain network, there were issues during the first wave of Covid 19 but that had nothing to do with the border issue,” an insider said. But focused on the disengagement on the border, the insider said that the ball is in China’s court for the new emerging post-Ukraine correlation to go forward.

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