Onus on China to adhere to border agreements, says India’s foreign minister

India’s Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said the onus was on China to adhere to agreements between the two countries on deployment of troops along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, ANI reported. Jaishankar was speaking during a virtual session at the Qatar Economic Forum.

“The issue is whether China will live up to the commitments it has made…Written commitments it has made about both countries not deploying a large armed force at the border,” he said, adding that “close-up deployments” continued in Ladakh.

The foreign minister said that India and China need to build a relationship based on “mutual sensitivity, mutual respect and mutual interest”.

On February 19, India and China completed the first phase of disengagement process along the Line of Actual Control at the banks of the Pangong Tso in Ladakh. This came after months of discussion following an escalation in border tensions since clashes between between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15 last year. While Beijing had acknowledged casualties early, it did not disclose details till February, when it said four of its soldiers had died.

However, friction points remain between both sides in areas like Gogra Heights, Hot Springs and Depsang Plains.

Speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum, Jaishankar denied any links between tensions with China and India’s decision to become part of the “Quad”.

“Quad”, or Quadrilateral Framework, is a grouping of four nations – India, United States, Australia and Japan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the first summit of the group in March. China has expressed its apprehensions about “Quad”, saying it hopes that the four countries will do things that are “conducive to regional peace and stability rather than the opposite”.

“The India-China border issue has pre-existed the Quad,” Jaishankar said on Tuesday. “In many ways, it’s a challenge, a problem quite independent of the Quad.”

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