There is an unprecedented level of security forces along the line of actual control (LAC) in Ladakh and this is the “most serious” situation with China since 1962, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said.
The deaths in the Galwan clash with Chinese forces near the LAC were the first military casualties on this border since 1945, he said.
The government is in talks with China to disengage from the border, but “when it comes to finding a solution, this must be predicated on honouring all agreements and understandings. And not attempting to alter the status quo unilaterally,” Jaishankar said in an interview to rediff.com.
India is in talks with the Chinese both through the military channels and diplomatic ones to ease the tensions, he added.
“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 (Line of Actual Control) is also unprecedented,” he said.
There has been heightened tension between India and China along the LAC after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with the People’s Liberation Army on June 15. India has been demanding China’s disengagement from the border and a return to status quo ante before May.
This crisis should also be resolved through talks and diplomacy like all other previous escalations, he said. “Over the last decade, there have been a number of border situations — Depsang, Chumar and Doklam. In a sense, each one was different. This one surely is. But what is also common is that all border situations were resolved through diplomacy,” he said.
Jaishankar said his book, The India Way, which was written before the clash with the Chinese forces and is scheduled to be released on September 7, talks about the need for Indian and China to work together to “determine the Asian century”.
“What I have said (in the book) 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,” he told rediff.com.
“So, this is an extremely consequential relationship for both. It has its fair share of problems… 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.”