China's non observance of border agreements 'disturbed' foundation of bilateral ties: Jaishankar

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Moscow, Jul 8 (PTI) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday that there has been a lot of concern about the India-China relationship since last one year because Beijing has not observed agreements on the border issue which has 'disturbed' the foundation of the bilateral ties.

'I would say for the last 40 years we had a very stable relation with China…China emerged as the second largest trade partner..,” Jaishankar said in response to a question on China-India relations at the Primakov Institute of World Economy & International Relations in Moscow.

'But for the last one year, there has been a lot of concern about the relationship because China has not observed agreements that it had signed up to when it came to our border,” said Jaishankar, who is here on a three-day visit.

'After 45 years, we actually had a border incident with casualties. And peace and tranquility on the border, for any country, is the foundation of a relationship with a neighbour. So naturally the foundation has got disturbed, so has the relationship,” he added.

India and China were locked in a military standoff at multiple friction points in eastern Ladakh since early May last year. However, the two sides completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the North and South banks of Pangong lake in February following a series of military and diplomatic talks.

The two sides are now engaged in talks to extend the disengagement process to the remaining friction points.

India has been particularly pressing for disengagement of troops in Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang.

According to military officials, each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive high altitude sector.

There was no visible forward movement in disengagement of troops in the remaining friction points as the Chinese side did not show flexibility in their approach to this issue at the 11th round of military talks.

On a question on the possibility of nuclear arms race between the two countries, Jaishankar dismissed it saying the evolution of the Chinese nuclear program has a much larger dynamic than India.

'I don't believe there is a nuclear arms race between India and China. China became a nuclear power in 1964, India in 1998,” he said.

In his address, ahead of his bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Jaishankar also emphasised that on the political front, it is essential for India and Russia to work together to ensure the stability and diversity of the world 'as we know it'.

'This includes insistence on honouring agreements and observing laws,' he said, apparently referring to China which has been behaving aggressively in the Indo-Pacific region.

On the economic side, there is a growing realisation on the importance of resilient and reliable supply chains. 'Our collaboration can surely add to the options before the world, as we have already seen in the case of vaccines,' Jaishankar said.

In the world of current diplomacy, the India-Russia ties is a particularly mature relationship, he said.

'More than its contemporaries, it has withstood the test of time, finding new convergences with changing circumstances. Geo-political compatibility, leadership trust and popular sentiment remain its key drivers.

'History is very much in our favour, something that cannot always be said for all relationships,' Jaishankar said.

Drawing from the past, assessing the present and committing to the future, I have every confidence that our two nations would continue to realise the full benefits of our Special and Privileged Strategic Relationship,' he said.

There is no doubt that relations between Russia and India have been among the steadiest of the major relationships in the world after the Second World War, he noted.

'Where India-Russia bilateral ties are concerned, there have been changes - even issues - from time to time. But at the end of the day, the logic of geo-politics was so compelling that we barely remember these even as minor aberrations,' he said.

The undeniable reality of the exceptional resilience of our ties is surely a phenomenon that is worth analysing, Jaishankar added. PTI CPS/ZH AKJ ZH ZH

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