The situation between India and China along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh remains “very fragile” and “quite dangerous” as military forces of both the countries are deployed very close to each other in some parts, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told India Today on Saturday.
A major face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh in June 2020 led to casualties on both sides – the first in many decades. Tensions had flared at multiple friction points, with both countries stationing tens of thousands of troops backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets.
Earlier this month, an annual American intelligence threat assessment had warned that the “expanded military postures” elevates the risk of armed confrontation between the nuclear-armed giants.
At an India Today conclave, Jaishankar on Saturday stated that relations between New Delhi and Beijing cannot return to normal until the border dispute is resolved in line with a September 2020 “in-principle agreement” that he had reached with former Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
“The Chinese have to deliver on what was agreed to and they have struggled with that,” Jaishankar added.
The foreign minister said that the two nations, however, have made “substantial progress” on disengagement from many areas while discussions are proceeding over other pockets as well.
Jaishankar said he also had a long discussion about the situation at the border with China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Delhi on March 2.
“We have made it very clear to the Chinese that we cannot have a breach of peace and tranquility, you can’t violate agreements and then want the rest of the relationship to continue as though nothing happened,” he told India Today. “That’s just not tenable.”