External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said that there has been a lot of concern about the India-China relationship for the last one year as Beijing has not observed agreements on the border issue, which has ‘disturbed’ the foundation of bilateral ties. While responding to a question on China-India relations at the Primakov Institute of World Economy& International Relations in Moscow, Jaishankar said, “I would say, for the last 40 years, we had a very stable relation with China.”
Jaishankar said, “China had become India’s second-largest trade partner. But in the last one year, there has been a lot of concern about the relationship because China has not observed agreements it had signed when it came to our border.”
S Jaishankar: ‘China had a stable relationship with India’
Speaking further about current China-India relations, S Jaishankar said, “After 45 years, we actually had a border incident with casualties.” Remarking that the peace and tranquillity on the border, for any country, is the foundation of a relationship with a neighbour, he said that the foundation has got disturbed and so has the relationship.
India and China have been locked in a military standoff at multiple friction points in eastern Ladakh since early May last year. However, the two sides had completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the North and South banks of Pangong Tso 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. On a question on the possibility of a nuclear arms race between the two countries, Jaishankar dismissed it saying the evolution of the Chinese nuclear programme has a much larger dynamic than India.
He said, “I don’t believe there is a nuclear arms race between India and China. China became a nuclear power in 1964, India in 1998.”
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 stability and diversity of the world “as we know it”. “This includes an insistence on honouring agreements and observing laws,” he said, apparently referring to China which has been behaving aggressively in the Indo-Pacific region.