In a clear message to his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that China’s violation of agreements along the border in eastern Ladakh has “eroded” the entire basis of bilateral relations and that all issues must be resolved in accordance with existing pacts.
In a nearly 45-minute meeting with Li, amid a three-year-old border dispute, Singh also told the Chinese defense minister that the development of India-China ties is based on the prevalence of peace and tranquility on the border.
Li’s visit to New Delhi to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting is the first by a Chinese defense minister in India since the standoff on Ladakh’s eastern border began in May 2020.
In a statement, the defense ministry said the two ministers had a “candid” discussion on developments in the India-China border areas as well as bilateral relations.
“Raksha Mantri categorically stated that the development of India-China relations is based on the predominance of peace and tranquility on the borders,” it said.
Ladakh border need to be resolved in accordance with existing bilateral agreements
“He added that all issues in the LAC need to be resolved in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and commitments,” the ministry said.
It said Singh reiterated that the violation of existing agreements had “eroded” the entire basis of bilateral relations and the border disconnection would logically follow de-escalation.
India has criticized China’s deployment of huge numbers of troops and its aggressive behavior along the LAC in violation of border management pacts. The talks took place hours after Li arrived in Delhi. Sources said Singh categorically stated in the meeting that military cooperation between the two countries can progress only if there is peace and tranquility on the border.
He said there should be a move toward de-escalation after the disconnection and expressed hope for a positive response, they said. Singh told Li that India wants to improve relations with China, but that can only happen after peace and tranquility are restored on the border, the sources said.
18th round of military talks
The meeting between the two defense ministers came days after the Indian and Chinese militaries held the 18th round of military talks to end the three-year border dispute.
At a Corps Commander meeting on 23 April, both sides agreed to remain in close contact and work out a mutually acceptable solution to the remaining issues in eastern Ladakh as soon as possible. However, there was no sign of clear forward movement at the end of the series.
Singh also held separate bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Kazakhstan, Iran and Tajikistan and handed over mementos to them. It was learned that no commemorative work was given to the Chinese minister.
India says its relations with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas. Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang is also set to visit India next week to attend the SCO Foreign Ministers Conclave in Goa. The meeting is scheduled for May 4 and 5.
Read Now:Eating a handful of walnuts a day can increase attention and intelligence in teenagers