The situation between India and China in the western Himalayan region of Ladakh is fragile and dangerous, with military forces deployed in some parts, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Saturday.
The situation has been fragile though calm, thanks to rounds of diplomatic and military talks, ever since at least 24 soldiers were killed when the two sides clashed in the region in mid-2020.
Violence erupted in the eastern sector of the undemarcated border between the two nuclear-armed Asia giants in December but did not result in any deaths.
“The situation to my mind still remains very fragile because there are places where our deployments are very close up and in military assessment therefore quite dangerous,” Jaishankar said at an India Today conclave.
India-China relations cannot go back to normal, he said, until the border row is resolved in line with the September 2020 in-principle agreement he reached with his Chinese counterpart.
“The Chinese have to deliver on what was agreed to, and they have struggled with that.”
Although forces from both sides have disengaged from many areas, discussions are proceeding over unresolved points, Jaishankar said.
“We have made it very clear to the Chinese that we cannot have a breach of peace and tranquility, you can’t violate the agreement and want the rest of the relationship to continue as though nothing happened. That’s just not tenable.”
Jaishankar said he discussed the situation with China’s new foreign minister, Qin Gang, on the sidelines of a meeting of the foreign ministers of the G20 nations hosted by India this month.
Two G20 ministerial meetings in India in the last three weeks have been overshadowed by Russia’s 13-month invasion of Ukraine.