India-China relations have suffered ‘great damage’ due to the ongoing tension along the border with East Ladakh. Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said in an online discussion with the Australian thinktank Lowy Institute that China has so far given ‘five different safes’. The tension is now going to be 8 months, but there is no hope of its going away. China’s strange stance is a major hindrance in this.
Jaishankar says that the two sides have talked several times till now but are unable to understand the basic issue that “agreements are not being followed”. The External Affairs Minister even went on to say that India’s relations with China were “in the worst phase ever”.
Jaishankar referred to the movement of the Chinese army in the Galvan valley in which 20 Indian soldiers were martyred. He said, “Today we are probably in the most difficult phase of relations with China, at least in the period of 30 to 40 years, maybe more than that.” The Foreign Minister explained how the Goodwill that had formed in the last 30 relations with China was ruined in a few days.
He said that China had emerged as our second largest trading partner, which was made possible because both countries had agreed to maintain peace in the border areas and were simultaneously trying to resolve the border dispute issue.
He said “Now, I do not know what is the reason for which China has given us five different safes till date as to why they have violated (the agreements). Thousands of Chinese troops came to LAC in Ladakh with full preparation”.
He added It is obvious that this will have a deep impact on the relationship. Debates and skirmishes had taken place earlier as well, the agreement was not such a big violation. This year, soldiers on both sides came very close, not surprisingly, something went terribly wrong.
Jaishankar said that bringing back the relationship with China is ‘a big issue’. He said that there is no problem in negotiations. According to Jaishankar, he has spoken to Chinese counterpart Wang Yi himself. The two leaders also met at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conference in Moscow. There have been several interactions between the Defense Ministers, military commanders and diplomats of the two countries.
According to Jaishankar, “Negotiations are not the issue, the issue is that we have some agreements and those agreements are not being followed.”
The condition of Chinese troops present near LAC in eastern Ladakh is said to be slim. According to reports, the Chinese troops are suffering due to the cold. News agency ANI, quoting a government source, recently reported that Chinese troops are being replaced daily on forward positions.
In comparison, Indian Army soldiers remain at their posts for several days. Indian soldiers have long experience of deployment in snowy plains, due to which they are in a much better position than the Chinese army in cold weather.