India, China ties at Crossroads: A big challenge for the entire world

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The India-China border remains hot and tense (ANI)

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar says the two countries’ parallel rise in the contemporary era is a “unique happening in the human history”


Our Bureau
New Delhi

Asserting that relationship between India and China is at the “crossroads”, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said choices made by the two countries will have “profound repercussions” for the entire world.

Speaking at the 13th All Indian Conference of China Studies, Jaishankar said the clash between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Ladakh last year at the Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has ‘profoundly’ disturbed India-China relations. “The India-China relationship today is truly at the cross-roads, choices that are made will have profound repercussions not just for the two nations but for the entire world,” he said.

“For all the differences and disagreements, we may have had on the boundary, the central fact was that border areas still remained fundamentally peaceful. The last loss of life before 2020 was as far back in 1971 that is why the events in eastern Ladakh last year have so profoundly disturbed the relationship,” he added.

The two countries have been engaged in a stand-off along the LAC since April-May last year. While China began amassing massive military strength along the LAC, India responded with a befitting build-up. Jaishankar said the Chinese side signaled a disregard for commitment about minimizing troop levels and showed a willingness to breach peace and tranquility along the border.

“They not only signaled a disregard for commitment about minimizing troop levels but also showed a willingness to breach peace and tranquility… We are yet to receive a credible explanation for the change in China’s stance or reason for the massing of troops,” he said.

With regard to where relations between New Delhi and Beijing stand, the External Affairs Minister said he does not have a definite answer to offer at “this moment”.

“Whether it is our immediate concern or more distant prospects, the fact is that the development of our ties can only be based on mutuality. The three mutuals — mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests — are its determining factors,” Jaishankar said further.

Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar (ANI)

India and China agreed to push for an early disengagement of the frontline troops in eastern Ladakh during the ninth round of the China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting held on the Chinese side of the Moldo-Chushul border meeting point on Sunday.

The joint press release issued by Defense Ministry on Monday said the two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of China-India border areas.

Noting the similarities and contrasts between India and China, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Thursday said that the two countries’ parallel rise in the contemporary era is a “unique happening in the human history”.

“The two nations have some similarities, especially of size and history but there is also very interesting contrast in many ways — culturally politically or economically. Both are in the process of building a modern nation-state from a civilized society. And their parallel rise in the contemporary era albeit at different pace and intensity is a unique happening in the human history,” the minister said.

“There is no question that we need to invest deeply in the study of China. Its salience in the global order is self-evident, that it is the proximate neighbor of India only makes stronger studies and even more compelling case,” he added.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said that India needs clear policy and needs to improve its military might to counter China’s expansionist agenda. According to a release by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), Singh said that talks with Beijing alone would not lead anywhere and added that Indian government should have a clear and well-defined policy on its hostile neighbor. While he hoped India got the better of China in the latest skirmish at Naku La in Sikkim on January 20, Captain Amarinder said India needs to improve and strengthen its military might.

In the circumstances, “mere talks with China won’t lead anywhere, we need to augment our military prowess,” he asserted. Stressing that China had always pursued an expansionist agenda, the Chief Minister said the neighboring country had been concentrating on expansionism through the development of their defense infrastructure.

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