New Delhi: The situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh remains “very fragile” and is “quite dangerous” in military assessment because of close deployments of troops of both sides in some pockets, though substantial progress has been made in the disengagement process in many areas, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday.
The minister's comments came a day after Army Chief General Manoj Pande said that the situation along the LAC is stable but there is a need to keep a "very close watch" on it.
Jaishankar said that former Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and he had reached an in-principle agreement in September 2020 on how to resolve the issue. It is for China to deliver on what was agreed to, he said.
Relationship between India and China cannot return to normal until LAC issue is sorted
The relationship between the two countries cannot return to normal until "these problems" are sorted out, the minister said in an interactive session at the India Today conclave
Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a standoff for the past three years at certain points in eastern Ladakh, though the two sides completed disengagement of troops from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.
"This is a very, I would say, challenging and abnormal phase in our ties with China. Why I say that is because from 1988 when Rajiv Gandhi went there till 2020 the understanding was that peace and tranquility on the border would be maintained," Jaishankar said.
Agreement to not bring large forces to border
The minister also referred to agreements between the two sides to not bring large forces to the border and added that a "very specific" set of understandings and even protocols were put in place on the handling of various situations. The Chinese violated the agreements in 2020 and the consequences were seen in the Galwan Valley and other areas as well, he said.
“We have deployed our troops. We have stood our ground and the situation to my mind still remains very fragile because there are places where our deployments are very close up and in military assessment, actually therefore, quite dangerous," he said.
“Now we have made substantial progress when it comes to disengagement in many areas. There are many areas where we have ongoing discussions. It is a painstaking job and we will do that," he said.
“We have made it very clear to the Chinese that we cannot have a breach of peace and tranquility, you can't violate agreements and then want the rest of the relationship to continue as though nothing happened. That's just not tenable," Jaishankar said.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)