External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that the Chinese “disregard” for border pacts has affected bilateral relations between both the countries.
“Right now, we are going through a very difficult phase mainly because we have agreements with China going back to the 1990s, which prohibit bringing mass troops in the border area. They have disregarded that. You know what happened in Galwan valley. That is clearly casting a shadow (on relations),” Jaishankar, who is on a trip to South America said while interacting with the Indian community in Brazil’s Sao Paulo on Saturday.
The Indian foreign minister reached Brazil on Saturday on the first leg of his trip, and is slated to visit Paraguay and Argentina before returning home on August 27.
Stating that while everyone wants to get along with neighbours, whether it is in personal life or country-wise, Jaishankar said, to achieve the same there must be mutual respect between the two neighbours.
“So, from our point of view, we have been very clear that we have to build the relationship and there has to be mutual respect. Each one will have their interests and we need to be sensitive to what the concerns are for others for a relationship to be built,” he said.
Drawing attention to the strained relationship between the two superpowers of the Asia, Jaishankar at an event last week had said that ‘Asian Century’ may not translate into reality if India and China, which have more common interests than differences, don’t unite.
China on Friday had concurred to this view, with its foreign ministry stating that no genuine Asia-Pacific Century or Asian Century can come until China, India and other neighbouring countries are developed.
“China and India are two ancient civilisations, two major emerging economies and two neighbouring countries, we have far more common interests than differences. Both sides have the wisdom and capability to help each other succeed instead of undercutting each other,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.
To a question on whether China will hold talks with India on the disengagement at the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh, Wang said, “China and India maintain smooth communication over the boundary question. And our dialogue is effective.” He expressed the hope that India will work with China to act upon the important common understandings between the leaders of the two countries, i.e. “China and India are not each others’ threats, but cooperation partners and development opportunities, bring China-India relations back to the track of steady and sound development at an early date and safeguard the common interests of China, India and our fellow developing countries,” Wang said.
The troops of China and India are engaged in a prolonged standoff in eastern Ladakh. The two sides have so far held 16 rounds of Corps Commander Level talks to resolve the standoff which erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong Lake areas. India has been consistently maintaining that peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) were key for the overall development of bilateral ties.
(With inputs from agencies)