LAC situation has ‘eroded strategic trust’, NSA Doval tells Chinese counterpart Wang | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

LAC situation has ‘eroded strategic trust’, NSA Doval tells Chinese counterpart Wang

Jul 25, 2023 04:52 PM IST

The two sides agreed that the India-China relationship is “significant not only for the two countries but also for the region and world”

India has made it clear to China that the standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has “eroded strategic trust”, with National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval telling his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that peace and tranquillity in border areas is essential for normal bilateral relations.

The Indian side has insisted that ties cannot be normalised until peace and tranquillity is restored in Ladakh sector of the LAC. (PTI photo)
The Indian side has insisted that ties cannot be normalised until peace and tranquillity is restored in Ladakh sector of the LAC. (PTI photo)

Doval conveyed India’s position when he met Wang, a member of the Communist Party of China’s political bureau and director of the party’s foreign affairs commission, on the margins of a meeting of NSAs of the Brics (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) grouping in Johannesburg late on Monday.

Unlock exclusive access to the story of India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now!

In an unusual development, the Chinese foreign ministry’s readout on the meeting contended President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached an “important consensus” on stabilising bilateral ties at an interaction on the margins of last year’s G20 Summit in Bali, and this should be converted into specific policies and concerted actions to enhance mutual trust.

People familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed to an earlier characterisation of the Modi-Xi interaction as an exchange of courtesies and said there was nothing more to add. They said any consensus between the two sides is limited to remaining in touch to address the border standoff.

Also Read: NSA heads to Joburg to meet Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi at BRICS NSA summit

The meeting in Johannesburg came about 10 days after external affairs minister S Jaishankar met Wang on the sidelines of Asean-related meetings in Jakarta on July 14 and discussed the border row, which has taken India-China relations to their lowest point in six decades. The Indian side has insisted that ties cannot be normalised until peace and tranquillity is restored in Ladakh sector of the LAC.

“During the meeting, NSA conveyed that the situation along the LAC in the Western Sector of the India-China boundary since 2020 had eroded strategic trust and the public and political basis of the relationship,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

“NSA emphasised the importance of continuing efforts to fully resolve the situation and restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas, so as to remove impediments to normalcy in bilateral relations,” the statement added.

The two sides agreed that the India-China relationship is “significant not only for the two countries but also for the region and world”.

The Chinese foreign ministry’s readout, issued in Mandarin, said Xi and Modi “reached an important consensus on stabilising China-India relations” on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali in November 2022.

“The two sides should adhere to the strategic judgment of the leaders...that ‘they do not pose a threat to each other, and they are each other’s development opportunities’, truly implement the consensus on stabilising bilateral relations into specific policies, and translate them into concerted actions by various departments and fields, enhance strategic mutual trust, focus on consensus and cooperation, overcome interference and difficulties, and promote the return of bilateral relations to the track of healthy and stable development at an early date,” the readout said.

Wang further said that “whether China and India support...each other, or whether they suspect and consume each other will directly affect their respective development processes and the trend of the world situation”.

The rise of China and India will determine the future of the world and China won’t follow the path of some countries “seeking hegemony” and is willing to work with developing countries, including India, to support multilateralism and development of a just and reasonable global order, the readout said.

The readout quoted Doval as saying that it is necessary to rebuild strategic mutual trust and that the Indian side is willing to work with China to “find a fundamental way to resolve the border situation in the spirit of mutual understanding and mutual respect”.

During last year’s G20 Summit, Modi and Xi shook hands and spoke briefly at a formal dinner for leaders in Bali. This was their first face-to-face encounter in public since the start of the military standoff on the LAC in May 2020. At the time, a person familiar with the matter had said that Modi and Xi “exchanged courtesies at the conclusion of the dinner”.

Bilateral engagements between Doval and his Chinese equivalent have been rare since the start of the standoff in Ladakh. A brutal clash in Galwan Valley in June 2020 killed 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese troops, the first fatalities along the LAC in 45 years.

The two countries have arrayed close to 50,000 troops each in Ladakh sector since 2020, and have been unable to resolve all “friction points” in the region despite more than two dozen rounds of diplomatic and military talks. So far, they have agreed to pull back frontline troops from both banks of Pangong Lake, Gogra and Hot Springs, but there has been no understanding on friction points at Depsang and Demchok.

There was no outcome at the 18th round of military dialogue on April 23, and another round is expected to be held in the coming weeks.

The Chinese side has said the border issue should be put in its “appropriate place” in overall bilateral relations while the two countries take forward engagement in other areas such as trade. This has been roundly rejected by India, and Doval’s remarks during the meeting with Wang were a reiteration of this position.

Besides participating in the meeting of Brics NSAs as part of preparations for the grouping’s summit next month, Doval is expected to hold separate meetings with several of his counterparts in Johannesburg.

Discover the complete story of India's general elections on our exclusive Elections Product! Access all the content absolutely free on the HT App. Download now!

Get Current Updates on India News, Lok Sabha election 2024 live, Election 2024 along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On