Relations between India and China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Friday, according to ANI.
“We have maintained our position that if China disturbs the peace and tranquility in border areas, it will impact our relations,” Jaishankar said while speaking to the media in Bengaluru. “Our relationship is not normal, it cannot be normal as the border situation is not normal.”
The minister said that the situation remains unresolved in spite of 16 rounds of commander-level talks having taken place on the subject of Chinese disengagement along the Line of Actual Control, The New Indian Express reported.
“The Indian Army has been holding its ground for the past two winters, which shows our resolve on standing our ground,” he said. “We have made some substantial progress in terms of the troops pulling back from places, where they were very close. There are still some places, where they have not.”
Tensions have been brewing between India and China since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China put the number of casualties on its side at four.
Since the violent face-off, the two countries have held several rounds of military and diplomatic talks to reduce tensions.
Meanwhile, Jaishankar also said on Friday that China’s Belt and Road Initiative violates India’s sovereignty.
“There was a violation of our territorial integrity and sovereignty, the fact that third country is doing things on sovereign Indian territory occupied by another country,” the minister said.
The Belt and Road Initiative has helped build roads and ports in several countries but has been criticised for burdening those nations with debts. The multi-trillion-dollar project was launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.
India has been critical of the Belt and Road Initiative as one of its components, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.