India wants the disengagement process in eastern Ladakh to be fully completed before entertaining any thought of resuming bilateral exchanges with China. The two countries could see a Modi-Xi summit later this year though as the Chinese president will likely visit India for the SCO summit in June-July and also for the G20 summit in September.
Jaishankar said this was a very challenging and abnormal phase in ties with China, adding the Chinese violated bilateral agreements for border peace in 2020 and the consequences were seen in the Galwan Valley and other areas as well.
“Why I say that is because from 1988 when Rajiv Gandhi went there till 2020, the understanding was that peace and tranquility on the border would be maintained,” Jaishankar said at the India Today Conclave.
India starts work on 135 km strategic road along LAC in Ladakh
“We have deployed our troops, we have stood our ground and the situation to my mind still remains very fragile because there are places where our deployments are very close and in military assessment, actually therefore, quite dangerous,” he added, while acknowledging that substantial progress had been made when it came to disengagement in many areas.
“There are many areas where we have ongoing discussions. It is a painstaking job and we will do that,” he said. “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. That’s just not tenable,” he added.
The minister also said that he and former Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi had reached an in-principle agreement in September 2020 on how to resolve the issue and that it is for China to deliver on what was agreed to.
He also referred to his meeting with his new Chinese counterpart Qin Gang on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting here on March 2.
“My most recent encounter in this regard was with the new foreign minister Qin Gang when the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting took place and we had a long discussion about it. In September 2020, Wang Yi and I had an in-principle agreement on how to resolve it. So the Chinese have to deliver on what was agreed to and they have struggled with that,” he said.