Foreign Minister S Jaishankar has said he would not wish to “predict” the outcome of the ongoing discussions between India and China regarding the border dispute at Ladakh. “The discussions are going on. It is a work in progress and the first rule of my business is – don’t predict what is still going on,” the minister said at the Bloomberg India Economic Forum a day after the seventh round of commander-level talks.
When pressed to respond on the issue, the minister said, “What is going on is something confidential between us and China and we will see how it plays out”.
A resolution to the situation in Ladakh – where India has been pressing for total disengagement, de-escalation and restoration of status quo ante in all areas of eastern Ladakh prior to April — has so far proved elusive.
China not only left the disengagement process – started after the National Security Advisor-level talks — halfway, but also undertook provocative actions to change the status quo on ground through fresh transgressions.
Not just the border area, the Chinese government had also raised objection to the inauguration of a series of bridges in Ladakh.
Today, the foreign ministry again issued a loud and clear message to China.
“The Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been, are, and would remain an integral part of India. China has no locus standi to comment on India’s internal matters. We hope that countries will not comment on India’s internal matters, as much as they expect the same of others,” the ministry said.
Last month, following Beijing’s assertion of its position on the Line of Actual Control or LAC, India said it comprehensively rejects Chinese claims on its location in Ladakh. The 1959 claim made by Beijing was not mutually agreed upon, India reminded China.
The different perceptions about the LAC were at the bottom of the repeated flare-ups at the border where “the Chinese and Indian perceptions of LAC overlap”, Union minister Rajnath Singh had told the Lok Sabha last month.
Today, Mr Jaishankar said the relation between India and China had improved following signing of a series of agreements since 1993 on maintaining peace and tranquility along the border.