India wants disengagement process in east Ladakh to be fully completed before thinking about a resumption of bilateral trade with China. The two countries could see a Modi-Xi summit later this year, although the Chinese president is likely to visit India for the SCO summit in June-July and also the G20 summit in September.
Jaishankar said this was a very challenging and abnormal stage in ties with China, adding that the Chinese violated bilateral peace agreements on borders in 2020 and the consequences were also seen in Galwan Valley and other areas.
“Why I say this because from 1988 when Rajiv Gandhi went there till 2020, the understanding was that peace and tranquility on the border would be maintained,” Jaishankar told India Today’s Conclave.
India begins work on a 135km strategic road along the LAC in Ladakh
“We have deployed our troops, we have maintained our position and the situation in my opinion still remains very fragile because there are places where our deployments are very close and in military evaluation, actually therefore, quite dangerous,” he added, while acknowledging that substantial progress has been made on disengagement in many areas.
“There are many areas where we have ongoing discussions. It is painstaking work and we will do it,” he said. “We have made it very clear to the Chinese that we cannot violate peace and tranquility, you cannot violate agreements and then want the rest of the relationship to go on as if nothing happened. it is sustainable,” he added.
The minister also said that he and former Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi had reached an agreement in principle in September 2020 on how to resolve the issue and that it was up to China to stick with what was agreed.
He also referred to his meeting with his new Chinese counterpart Qin Gang on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers meeting here on March 2.
“My most recent meeting in this regard was with the new foreign minister Qin Gang at the G20 foreign ministers meeting and we discussed it at length. In September 2020, Wang Yi and I had an agreement in principle on how to solve it. So the Chinese have to keep what was agreed and they have been struggling with that,” she said.