NEW DELHI: India on Friday pushed back on the Chinese envoy’s recent remarks on restoring stability to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), saying only disengagement and de-escalation can ensure normalcy on the border.
Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said in a speech on September 27 that the situation at the border is “generally stable” and that the two countries have moved from the “emergency response” that followed the clash in the valley of Galwan in June 2020 to “standardized management and control”. .
Asked about Sun’s comments during a regular press briefing, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said more will have to be done to restore normality at the border.
“Some steps are necessary for full normality and we certainly haven’t reached that stage. We want there to be a sequence – disengagement then de-escalation and then there should be normality at the border so that there can be have some regularity or normalcy in the overall relationship,” he said.
Bagchi added: “You are aware of how we see developments on the LAC. We said what measures should be there, such as disengagement and de-escalation. Our foreign minister also commented on this, and we said the same when the Chinese foreign minister visited. [India in March].
“Our senior leadership also said we didn’t get there…I wouldn’t say it’s normal.”
Bagchi said there have been “some positive steps but there are still more to come [to be taken]”.
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said last month that India-China relations were going through an “extremely difficult phase” due to Beijing’s actions on the LAC and that it would be difficult to have an Asian century if the two countries did not come together.
Bilateral relations have plunged to an all-time low after China mustered tens of thousands of troops into the LAC’s Ladakh sector and sought to change the status quo two years ago.
A brutal clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2022 killed 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese soldiers.
India and China have withdrawn their frontline troops from both sides of Pangong Lake, Gogra and Hot Springs after more than two dozen rounds of diplomatic and military talks since the standoff began. However, there was no forward movement on other sticking points such as Demchok and Depsang.
India also rejected China’s call to put the border standoff in an “appropriate place” while advancing relations in other areas such as trade.