NEW DELHI: As Indian and Chinese troops continue to maintain their mountain vigil, India has signalled to China repeatedly in the past few days that the minimum requirement for stable relations is a peaceful border.
Speaking to former Indian ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale at an online event, foreign minister S Jaishankar said: “It is not our position that we should solve the boundary question. We understand that it is a very complicated and difficult issue. There have been many negotiations at different levels… That is a very high bar for a relationship… I am talking about a much more basic bar which is that there must be peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the border areas and that has been the case since the late 1980s.”
The minister’s remarks come even as the two sides remain entrenched in their respective positions on the heights in eastern Ladakh. “Now, if peace and tranquillity is deeply disturbed, then obviously there will be an impact on the relationship and that is what we are seeing,” Jaishankar said.
While both sides work on disengagement protocols amid a big trust deficit, there are two views within the Indian national security establishment. One set of opinions is there may be some modest disengagement in November, with the Chinese side returning to the heights next spring. The second believe China will continue to press India on the LAC because China wants to change the ground position, .
But both views agree on one thing — the LAC in eastern Ladakh will now be forever manned by Indian troops, making it another Siachen-like situation. At least until a border agreement is reached.