New Delhi: Against the backdrop of the prolonged military standoff in eastern Ladakh, India on Thursday once again made it clear that return to normalcy in the country’s relationship with China will require restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas.
The Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a standoff for three years at certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.
“The restoration of normalcy in our relationship will require restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas which have been disturbed since April 2020,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing.
Bagchi said this when asked to comment on remarks by a Chinese diplomat that the situation in the India-China border areas is stable.
“As the external affairs minister said, the presence of a large number of troops there in contravention of agreements is an abnormality. We have been holding discussions on diplomatic and military track,” Bagchi said.
The MEA spokesperson said that till the situation in border areas see a return to peace and tranquility, “we cannot foresee normalcy in the overall relationship.”
Asked about the date for the next round of military talks between the two countries, Bagchi said it will be made known when it is finalised.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar last month said the situation along the Line of Actual Control(LAC) in eastern Ladakh remained “very fragile” and is “quite dangerous” in military assessment because of close deployments of troops of both sides in some pockets though “substantial” progress has been made in the disengagement process in many areas.
India has been maintaining that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.
Asked about China renaming some places in Arunachal Pradesh, Bagchi asserted that the state is an integral part of India and assigning “invented” names does not alter this reality. He also referred to India’s statement on the matter that was issued on Tuesday.
“Arunachal Pradesh is, has been, and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India. Attempts to assign invented names will not alter this reality,” Bagchi had said.
Asked about the US recognising Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India and its criticism of attempts to advance territorial claims by renaming places, Bagchi said New Delhi’s position does not depend on anyone’s support or opposition.
On Sunday, Beijing announced Chinese names for 11 more places in Arunachal Pradesh which the neighbouring country claims as “southern part of Tibet”. It was the third batch of standardised geographical names for Arunachal Pradesh issued by China’s civil affairs ministry.
The first batch of the standardised names of six places in Arunachal Pradesh was released in 2017 while the second batch of 15 places was issued in 2021.