The current crisis in Sino-Indian relations “is surely the most serious situation after 1962”, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar has told a news website, while acknowledging that “the quantum of forces currently deployed by both sides at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is also unprecedented”. The EAM also said that the “difficulties” in Sino-Indian ties “may well undermine” the Asian Century.
The two countries had fought a border war in 1962. The EAM’s comments come amid continued Chinese military intransigence in withdrawing to the positions of April this year in the Ladakh sector. The EAM’s remarks also seems at odds with recent comments made by Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong who had described the deadly Galwan valley clash in mid-June between troops of the two sides in the Ladakh sector as a “brief moment from the perspective of history”.
In an interview to a news website ahead of the formal launch of his book—“The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World”, EAM Jaishankar said, “This is surely the most serious situation after 1962. In fact, after 45 years, we have had military casualties on this border. The quantum of forces currently deployed by both sides at the LAC is also unprecedented.”
Mr. Jaishankar added, “I am not minimising either the seriousness or the complex nature of the current situation. Naturally, we have to do what it takes to secure our borders. ... But when it comes to finding a solution, this must be predicated on honouring all agreements and understandings. And not attempting to alter the status quo unilaterally. ... That is why we tell the Chinese side clearly that peace and tranquillity in the border areas are the basis for the relationship.”
It may be recalled that India has also mobilised a significant number of troops with heavy weaponry near the borders with China in response to the Chinese military build-up. India is also clear that it will not agree to any unilateral change of the LAC by China.
The EAM further remarked, “What I have said is that the ability of India and China to work together could determine the Asian Century. But their difficulties in doing so may well undermine it.” But he also pointed out that previous military stand-offs between the two sides in the past decade “were resolved through diplomacy”.