India tells China border peace must for normal ties

By Sarwar Kashani

New Delhi, Mar 25 (EFE).- India on Friday told China that border peace was a must to stabilize ties between the estranged neighbors, during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s first official visit to New Delhi since deadly boundary clashes in 2020.

Wang met his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval during a whirlwind trip that followed his visit to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Indian minister minced no words in saying that the relationship between the two countries was “not normal.”

“It is not, and it cannot be normal if the situation in the border areas is abnormal.”

Jaishankar told reporters that he met the Chinese minister for about three hours and discussed bilateral ties “disturbed as a result of Chinese actions since April 2020.”

He referred to the clashes between Indian and Chinese soldiers along the Line of Actual Control, a loose demarcation of the border that separates the two nuclear powers.

The soldiers along the disputed Himalayan border in the eastern Ladakh sector beat each other with iron rods in a physical brawl, which resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese counterparts.

The military tensions between the two nuclear-powered neighbors began to rise two years ago when the two armies accused each other of provocative trespassing on the disputed border surrounding the high-altitude Pangong Tso saline water lake in Ladakh.

The two countries have since held 15 rounds of military talks to deescalate and disengage from friction points without much success.

The Indian foreign minister described the current situation between the two nations as a “work in progress, obviously at a slower pace than desirable.”

“We have still ongoing friction areas. We have also made a lot of progress on resolving a lot of friction areas. Today, our discussion was on how to take this forward,” said Jaishankar, stressing that the friction arose from the Chinese border deployments since April 2020.

He said the impact of the border tension on the overall relationship was “only natural as peace and tranquility in the border areas have been the foundation of stable and cooperating ties.”

Jaishankar said Wang spoke about the Chinese desire for a return to normalcy.

The Indian diplomat said he told the visiting Chinese leader that India wanted a stable relationship, but restoration of normalcy would require restoration of peace and tranquility.

“If we are both committed to improving our ties, then this commitment must find full expression in ongoing disengagement talks.”

Wang earlier visited Pakistan and Afghanistan before landing in New Delhi Thursday night.

In Pakistan, where he attended, a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Countries as a special invitee, Wang courted controversy and ruffled many Indian feathers by referring to the disputed Kashmir region.

“On Kashmir, we have heard again today the calls of many of our Islamic friends. And China shares the same hope,” Wang said at the OIC meeting in Islamabad.

India reacted sharply, saying Kashmir was an “internal affair” and rejecting the “uncalled reference” by the Chinese diplomat in his speech at the OIC meeting. EFE

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