During his keynote address at the 13th All India Conference of China Studies on Thursday, Union Minister for External Affairs (EAM), S Jaishankar, listed out the mistakes of China that it must correct in order to repair its relation with India.
The development comes amidst a 9-month-long border standoff in the Eastern Ladakh region along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). S Jainshakar said, “You may recall the practice of stapled-visas; or the reluctance to deal with some of our military commands. Then there was China’s opposition to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and to a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.”
Pointing out China’s mistakes, he further added, “When it came to trade, promises of market access did not match delivery. The blocking of UN listing of Pakistani terrorists involved in attacks on India had its own resonance. And of course, the violation of Indian sovereignty by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Even the border areas saw frictions on some occasions.”
Eight principles to improve India-China relations
S Jaishankar said, “First and foremost, agreements already reached must be adhered to in their entirety, both in letter and spirit. Second, where the handling of the border areas are concerned, the LAC must be strictly observed and respected; any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo is completely unacceptable. Third, peace and tranquillity in the border areas is the basis for the development of relations in other domains.”
“If they are disturbed, so inevitably will the rest of the relationship. This is quite apart from the issue of progress in the boundary negotiations. Fourth, while both nations are committed to a multi-polar world, there should be a recognition that a multi-polar Asia is one of its essential constituents. Fifth, obviously each state will have its own interests, concerns and priorities; but sensitivity to them cannot be one-sided. At the end of the day, relationships between major states are reciprocal in nature,” he added.
S Jainshankar concluded, “Sixth, as rising powers, each will have their own set of aspirations and their pursuit too cannot be ignored. Seventh, there will always be divergences and differences but their management is essential to our ties. And eighth, civilizational states like India and China must always take the long view.”
EAM on current status of India-China relationship
The External Affairs Minister expressed uncertainty over the future of bilateral relations between the two countries. He emphasized that the ‘events of 2020’ have put the relationship under ‘exceptional stress.’ He added that after the 1962 India-China war, efforts were made to rebuild bilateral connections. S Jaishankar added that despite disagreements, the Ladakh sector had remained peaceful since 1975.
“That is why the events in eastern Ladakh last year have so profoundly disturbed the relationship because they not only signaled a disregard for commitments about minimising troop levels but also showed a willingness to breach peace and tranquillity…The advancement of ties in this period was clearly predicated on ensuring that peace and tranquillity were not disturbed and that the LAC was both observed and respected by both sides,” he pointed out.
S Jaishankar said that since 2014, efforts have been made to bridge the gap of border infrastructure between India and China through greater budget allocations and road-building records. However, he also stated that the difference remains ‘significant’ and ‘consequential’.
India foils China’s attempt to infiltrate
Recently, the Indian Army has foiled attempts by the soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army(PLA) to alter the status quo at the Naku La in North Sikkim. According to a report by India Today, the India Army pushed back the Chinese soldiers who tried to cross the border last week. This led to a fresh clash between the Indian forces and Chinese troops, resulting in injuries on both sides.
The media report has quoted sources as saying that around 20 Chinese soldiers were injured in the clash at Naku La in Sikkim. Four Indian soldiers also reportedly sustained injuries. Despite this and hostile weather conditions, India successfully managed to push the Chinese troop back and secure the Naku La in North Sikkim.