‘Bilateral relations disturbed, work in progress’: Jaishankar after meet with Chinese FM Wang Yi

External Affairs minister S Jaishankar met Chinese Foreign minister Wang Yi on Friday and conveyed to him that the bilateral relations are “disturbed” due to the amassing of Chinese troops and that the ties cannot be normal till the border situation is resolved.

Calling the three-hour-long meeting an “open and candid” discussion, Jaishankar said that Beijing’s commitment to bilateral ties should find full expression in the ongoing disengagement.

After 15 rounds of border talks between military commanders, the Minister said that the bilateral ties were a “work in progress”.

Jaishankar also underlined the three determining factors to fix the ties — mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests. He added that the issue of Wang’s statement at the Organisation of Islamic Corporation in Pakistan over Jammu and Kashmir, which was earlier criticised by the Indian government, was also raised during the meeting.

He added that there was also discussion on the BRICS summit in China, for which Beijing wants participation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, no talks were held about the Quad or the Indo-Pacific.

They also discussed the situation in Ukraine, Afghanistan, terrorism emanating out of Pakistan, UNSC reforms among other issues. Jaishankar said that he had also taken up the issue of Indian students studying in China and the problems related to travelling to the institutes.

Earlier, Jaishankar, while tweeting out a picture of him with the Chinese Foreign Minister, had said: “Greeted Chinese FM Wang Yi at Hyderabad House.”

NSA Ajit Doval, who was also present during the meeting, stressed the need for complete disengagement on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to allow the bilateral relationships to take its natural course, sources said.

Underlining that continuation of the present situation is not in the mutual interest, Doval said that restoration of peace and tranquillity will help build mutual trust and create an enabling environment for progress in relations, the sources added.

Wang had last visited India in December ‘2019.

Two years into the military standoff along the LAC in Ladakh, Beijing made an unusual outreach Thursday when Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi reached New Delhi in the evening.

The standoff in eastern Ladakh started on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash at the Pangong lake areas and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers, besides heavy weaponry.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso in February 2021, and in the Gogra area in August. While troops are yet to disengage in two other areas, the broader de-escalation is nowhere near the horizon. The standoff remains unresolved with about 50,000 troops amassed on either side of the LAC.

Two years into the military standoff, Beijing has also reached out to New Delhi to revive bilateral dialogue and set the stage for the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) summit in China later this year.

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