India tells China border troop pullback needed for better ties

Sept 17, 2021: The Indian foreign minister, Subrhamanyam Jayashankar said India had told China that its bilateral relations would only develop if the two countries withdrew their troops from the conflict on their disputed Himalayan border.

He shared India’s position when he met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a regional conference in Dushanbe on Thursday.

In his twitter post, Jaishankar said, “Discussed disengagement in our border areas. Underlined that progress in this regard is essential for restoration of peace and tranquillity, which is the basis for development of bilateral ties,”

In an escalation of tensions between the two neighbours, thousands of Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a confrontation in the western Himalayas since last year, when hostilities erupted over a decades-old border dispute.

In June last year, the took a turn for the worse when the two engaged in a hand-to-hand fight that resulted in casualties on both sides, the first between them in decades. After several rounds of talks between their commanders, their forces have backed on parts of the border, including Pangong  Lake, a disputed area near the site of last year’s clashes.

But with the help of artillery, the troops are standing close by in other areas. “China has always handled the Sino-Indian border issue in a fair and positive manner,” Wang said. “[Both sides] must work together to maintain peace in the border areas, and prevent border incidents from happening again.”

As two major emerging economies, China and India should push bilateral relations towards a healthy and stable path, Wang said in a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

China and India fought a war on their border in 1962 and never resolved the dispute.

Nevertheless, in recent years, trade relations have flourished. Jayshankar said he also discussed recent world events with Wang. He did not provide details.

Although China’s close military ties with India’s regional rival Pakistan have been a source of tension, Jayashankar said India-China relations should be viewed bilaterally.

He also told Wang that it was important for China not to view its relations with India through the lens of a third country.

The two top officials are in Dushanbe for the SCO summit. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the gathering via video link after Friday.

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