India’s relationship with China is not normal because of deployment of troops at border: Jaishankar
The foreign minister made the comments after three-hour talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
The situation at the border shared by India and China is not normal due to presence of Beijing’s troops in violation of agreements between the two countries, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Friday.
Jaishankar’s comments came after three-hour talks with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in New Delhi. This is the highest-level visit by a Chinese leader since the border clashes along the Line of Actual Control two years ago strained ties between both the countries.
At a press conference, Jaishankar said China’s deployment of troops at the Line of Actual Control in contravention of the 1993-’96 agreements. “No, our relationship [with China at present] is not normal,” he added.
Jaishankar said that the bilateral talks were held in an open and candid manner, reported The Hindu. “We discussed bilateral relations that have been disturbed as a result of Chinese actions in border areas,” he said.
Relations between the two nuclear armed countries turned sour as incursions by People’s Liberation Army soldiers in Ladakh in June 2020 led to clashes in the Galwan Valley, leading to the death of 20 Indian soldiers. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four.
At Friday’s press conference, Jaishankar said several areas along the border are disputed currently and progress has been in made in resolving some of them, including the disengagement of troops at the Pangong Tso lake in Eastern Ladakh.
“Our discussion today was how to take this [talks on resolving disputes] forward,” he said. “There have been 15 rounds of talks.”
The minister, however, said the process to resolve the disputes has been slow, describing it as a “work in progress”.
Jaishankar said that the two sides have not arrived at a timeline for disengaging troops at the friction areas, reported ANI.
The minister also said that he discussed with Yang his comments about Jammu and Kashmir at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation meeting in Pakistan. At the event, Wang had said that “China shares the same hope” as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on Kashmir.
India had then rebuked him hours before his visit, saying that the Chinese foreign minister’s comments were “uncalled for”.
At the press conference, Jaishankar said he told Wang that Delhi hopes Beijing would follow an independent policy with respect to India and not be influenced by other countries.
Jaishankar also said that he took up the matter of Indian medical students not being allowed to leave China due to the coronavirus restrictions.
“We hope China will take a non-discriminatory approach since it involves future of many young people,” he said.
The two leaders also discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Mr Wang Yi presented his view and I presented the Indian view on Ukraine – where we had a common element [that] is importance of immediate ceasefire and return to dialogue and diplomacy,” he added.
Chinese foreign minister meets Doval
Earlier in the day, the Chinese foreign minister met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval at his office in South Block.
There had been no official confirmation of Wang’s visit by either India or China even when the minister arrived in Delhi on Thursday night.
In December 2019, Wang last visited India for the Special Representative-level border talks with Doval, The Indian Express reported.
Wang’s visit is aimed at restarting physical engagement between India and China, as also inviting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a meeting of BRICS countries to be hosted by China later this year, according to ANI. The BRICS grouping of countries comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.