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India-China border: ‘Won’t compromise on security’: S Jaishankar firm on border issue with China

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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar emphasized the importance of normalizing troop deployment at the India-China border for improving bilateral relations. Speaking during an interaction with the Indian diaspora in Malaysia, Jaishankar criticized China for failing to uphold longstanding agreements with India, leading to violence and bloodshed in 2020.

“My first duty to Indians is to secure the border. I can never compromise on that,” Jaishankar said while responding to a question on the current state of India’s relations with China during his interaction with the Indian diaspora here in the Malaysian capital.

He said every country wants “good relations with its neighbours. Who doesn’t? But every relationship has to be founded on some basis.”

He reiterated India’s commitment to securing its borders and highlighted the clash in the Galwan Valley as a serious military conflict between the two countries. Jaishankar mentioned ongoing negotiations with China and the importance of maintaining the Line of Actual Control without deploying troops there.

Jaishankar also discussed cooperation with Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in various areas, including trade, science, technology, education, agriculture, tourism, and defense. He conveyed warm greetings from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and highlighted the strong relationship between Malaysia and India, characterized by robust economic partnerships and close people-to-people ties.

Reflecting on the India-China relationship, Jaishankar said, “Every country wants good relations with its neighbors. Who doesn’t? But every relationship has to be founded on some basis.” He highlighted the agreements and understanding reached in the late 1980s, which gave stability to the relationship, despite the boundary dispute. However, these agreements were broken in 2020, leading to violence and bloodshed on the border.”But despite the boundary dispute over the many years, we actually built up a substantial relationship because we agreed that while we will negotiate the boundary dispute, both of us will agree that we will not bring soldiers in large numbers to the boundary. And we will never have a situation where there’ll be violence and bloodshed on the contrary,” he said.The clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 marked a significant downturn in India-China relations, representing the most serious military conflict between the two sides in more than four decades. The normalization of ties with China will depend on the traditional deployment of troops, which Jaishankar emphasized as a prerequisite for the relationship moving forward.

“Now, unfortunately, for reasons which are still not clear to us, these agreements were broken in 2020. And we actually had violence and bloodshed on the border,” Jaishankar said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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