India says trust with China deeply impaired after border flare-up
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 12 January 2021 4:00 PM
India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar says trust with China has been "profoundly disturbed" following tensions at their contested border that left 20 Indian soldiers dead last summer.
"After 45 years, you've actually had bloodshed on the border. And that's had a huge impact on public opinion and politically‚Ä¶ really, the impact of trust and confidence in India where China and their relationship is concerned, that has been profoundly disturbed," Jaishankar said on Tuesday.
The top Indian diplomat also accused China of moving troops as well as heavy military equipment to areas close to the unmarked border with India last year.
"Now last year, for reasons which are not clear to us, the Chinese really brought an enormous military force to one part of the border. And then at the Line of Actual Control, obviously we moved up when we saw them coming and that has sort of created friction points along the Line of Actual Control," Jaishankar said.
In June last year, 20 Indian soldiers were killed during a skirmish in the Galwan Valley, a precipitous and rocky border area that lies between China's Tibet and India's Ladakh regions. There were no reports of Chinese casualties. Each side blamed the other for the incident.
That was the first such deadly clash at the disputed border in the western Himalayas since 1967.
India accused Beijing of having "pre-meditated and planned" the fighting, but China said Indian troops had violated a military agreement and attacked its troops in the valley.
Both countries also moved thousands of troops as well as tanks, artillery, and fighter jets to areas close to the de facto border.
Several rounds of military and diplomatic negotiations have taken place, but there has been no pullback of forces from the front-line. The Indian army chief, Manoj Mukund Narvane, said on Tuesday that New Delhi expected the talks to lead to an amicable solution.
The two Asian powerhouses have been engaged in a protracted dispute over the Line of Actual Control that divides their long joint border. They fought a brief war over the matter back in 1962.
Relations with US on upswing
Elsewhere in his remarks, Jaishankar said ties with the US were on the upswing and he was confident about the direction of the ties under the incoming President Joe Biden administration.
"Structurally, the relationship with the US is very, very sound. It has very unique elements. There is political convergence, growing security and defense convergence," Jaishankar said.
"When I look at many of the challenges we face, the US is going to be much more open looking for partners, and I'm confident about where we are going with the relationship," he said.
India has built close defense ties with Washington, buying more than 20 billion dollars' worth of weapons from the US over the past 15 years.
The outgoing administration of President Donald Trump, which has been engaged in tensions with China on multiple fronts, claimed to support India, but two years ago, it imposed tariffs on the country and planned to restrict H-1B visas issued each year to Indians.
Washington also sells weapons to India at high prices. New Delhi has recently turned to Russia for arms procurement, in a move that has prompted Washington to threaten New Delhi with sanctions.
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