Current situation at LAC arisen due to China\'s disregard: Jaishankar

\'When a large country disregards written commitments, I think it\'s an issue of legitimate concern for the entire international community\'

Melbourne: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday that the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has arisen due to the disregard of written agreements by China not to mass soldiers at the border and noted that Beijing's actions have become an issue of "legitimate concern" for the entire international community.

Jaishankar's remarks in response to a question on the eastern Ladakh border standoff came a day after he and other foreign ministers of Quad –US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japan's Yoshimasa Hayashi and Australia's Marise Payne - on Friday held talks and vowed to expand cooperation to keep the Indo-Pacific free from "coercion".

When asked whether the India-China border standoff issue came up for discussion during the Quad Foreign ministers' meeting here on Friday, Jaishankar replied, “Yes”.

"Yes, we (Quad) had a discussion on India-China relations because it was part of how we briefed each other about what was happening in our neighbourhood. And it's an issue in which a lot of countries legitimately take interest, particularly if they are from the Indo-Pacific region,” he said while speaking at a joint press conference along with his Australian counterpart here after their bilateral meeting.

The situation at the LAC has arisen due to the disregard by China in 2020 of written agreements with India not to mass forces at the border, he said.

"So, when a large country disregards written commitments, I think it's an issue of legitimate concern for the entire international community," he added.

The border standoff in eastern Ladakh erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.

The tension escalated following a deadly clash in Galwan Valley on June 15, 2020.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in Gogra as well as in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake last year.

Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the Line of Actual Control in the sensitive sector.

India and China held the 14th round of Corps Commander-level meeting on January 12 during which the two sides agreed to maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels to work out a "mutually acceptable resolution" of the remaining issues of the standoff at eastern Ladakh.

China has described as “positive and constructive” the latest round of military-level talks with India and said Beijing will work closely with New Delhi to "properly handle" the border issue, even as it refuted the US allegation of “intimidating” neighbours.

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