Ladakh situation most serious since 1962, troop levels unprecedented: Jaishankar


PTI, Aug 27, 2020, 11:54 AM IST

New Delhi: A solution to the border row with China must be predicated on honoring all agreements and understandings without attempting to alter the status quo unilaterally, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has said, in a clear assertion of India’s position on the issue.

Jaishankar called the situation in Ladakh the “most serious” after the 1962 conflict, adding the quantum of forces currently deployed by both sides at the Line of Actual Control(LAC) is also “unprecedented”. At the same time, he noted that all border situations were resolved through diplomacy.

“As you know, we are talking to the Chinese both through military channels and diplomatic ones. In fact, they work in tandem,” the external affairs minister told Rediff.com in an interview ahead of the release of his book The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World.

“But when it comes to finding a solution, this must be predicated on honoring all agreements and understandings. And not attempting to alter the status quo unilaterally,” he said.

India has been insisting that the border standoff with China must be resolved in accordance with the existing agreements and protocols for border management between the two countries.

Asked how he envisaged the future of India-China ties in the book that was written before the border row erupted, the external affairs minister said it is “an extremely consequential relationship for both and it requires a strategy and a vision”.

“What I have said is that the ability of India and China to work together could determine the Asian century. But their difficulties in doing so may well undermine it. So, this is an extremely consequential relationship for both. It has its fair share of problems and I have been forthright in acknowledging them,” Jaishankar said.

“We need honest conversations on this, among Indians and between India and China. That is why this relationship requires both a strategy and a vision,” he noted.

Referring to the impact of the border row on the rest of the relationship, Jaishankar said that India has conveyed to the Chinese side “clearly” that peace and tranquillity in the border areas are the basis for the relationship.

“If we look back at the last three decades, this is quite self-evident. Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a tense standoff in eastern Ladakh for over three-and-half-months despite multiple rounds of diplomatic and military talks,” he said.

The tension escalated after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley clash in which the Chinese military also suffered casualties. This is surely the most serious situation after 1962. In fact, after 45 years, we have had military casualties on this border. The quantum of forces currently deployed by both sides at the LAC is also unprecedented,” he added.

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