External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said that India is facing a “very complicated challenge” from China which has been particularly visible in the last three years in the border areas, reported PTI.
“There are clearly responses that are required, and those responses have been undertaken by the government,” Jaishankar said. “And a lot of it to ensure that no attempt is made to unilaterally change the status quo in the border areas.”
Ties between India and China have remained strained since the militaries of the two countries clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Tensions had flared at multiple friction points, with both countries stationing tens of thousands of troops backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets.
Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash, while China had put the number of casualties on its side at four. The two countries have been locked in a border row since then.
Tensions between the two countries escalated once again two years later on December 9, after Indian and Chinese troops clashed in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh. New Delhi said that the clash took place after Chinese soldiers attempted to change the status quo at the Line of Actual Control.
In March, Jaishankar had said 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.
On Saturday, the foreign minister said that New Delhi and Beijing will have to find some kind of equilibrium and that all the previous governments had tried to find a balance in their own ways, according to PTI.
Jaishankar, however, added that mutual respect, sensitivity and interest have to be the basis of the relationship.
“How can we get along long term if you don’t respect me, if you are not sensitive to my concerns, if you ignore my interest?” he said. “If India sees respect, sensitivity and recognition, it can think of a better relationship with China. But if we do not, I think we need to stand up for our rights, and we need to be firm in asserting opposition. And that, unfortunately, currently is the situation.”