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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 29 January, 2021

  • 10 Min Read

India China Ties: Way Forward

India China Ties: Way Forward

  • Recognition of mutual respect, mutual sensitivities and mutual interests is key to repairing India-China relations, after what he called a year of “exceptional stress” in a relationship “profoundly disturbed” by the border crisis.

  • China’s actions last year had “not only signalled a disregard for commitments about minimising troop levels” but also “showed a willingness to breach the peace and tranquillity” on the border that had been the foundation for the relationship.
  • For all the differences and disagreements that we may have had on the boundary, the central fact was that border areas still remained fundamentally peaceful. The relationship is today truly at a crossroads and choices that are made will have profound repercussions, not just for the two nations but for the entire world.
  • Twenty Indian soldiers, and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers, lost their lives in a clash on June 15 last year in the Galwan Valley, following tensions that erupted in early May triggered by transgressions by China across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the massing of troops, and what India has described as a unilateral attempt to redraw the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in several areas in eastern Ladakh.
  • Even before the events of 2020, the relationship had reflected “a duality of cooperation and competition”. While both sides had made a common cause on development and economic issues and common membership of plurilateral groups was a meeting point, there were divergences when it came to interests and aspirations.
  • He cited as examples China’s issuing of stapled visas to Indian citizens from Jammu and Kashmir in 2010, a reluctance from China to deal with some of India’s military commands (Beijing had that same year refused to host the Northern Army Commander), China’s opposition to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the UN Security Council as a permanent member, the blocking of UN listings of Pakistani terrorists, and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, violating India’s sovereignty in J&K.
  • Over the years, he said, there was no significant progress of arriving at a common understanding of the alignment of the LAC, while there was “increasing construction of border infrastructure, especially on the Chinese side.” India, he added, had made efforts to reduce the considerable infrastructure gap since 2014, including through greater budget commitments and road building.

The External Affairs Minister suggested “three mutuals” and “eight broad propositions” as a way forward for the relationship. “Mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests” were “determining factors”.

  • The first proposition, he said, was that agreements already reached must be adhered to in their entirety, both in letter and spirit.
  • Both sides also needed to strictly observe and respect the LAC, and any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo was completely unacceptable.
  • Peace and tranquillity in border areas was the basis for the development of the relationship in other domains. If that was disturbed, he said, the rest of the relationship would be too.
  • The fourth proposition, he said, was that while both remain committed to a multipolar world, they should recognise that a multipolar Asia was one of its essential constituents.
  • While each state had its interests, concerns and priorities, sensitivities to them could not be one-sided and relations were reciprocal in nature.
  • As rising powers, neither should ignore the other’s set of aspirations, he added.
  • While there “will always be divergence and differences”, their management is essential to ties, Mr. Jaishankar said.

Source: TH


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