The Union Minister for External Affairs Dr. S Jaishankar said the government remained committed to protecting the national interest at any cost, despite the fact that the present phase in ties with China is challenging and abnormal.
From 1988 when Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi went there until 2020, the understanding was that peace and tranquility on the border would be maintained. Jaishankar said that we had two agreements not to bring large forces to the border.
The understanding between the two neighbours even contained protocols on the processes to be followed when their army patrols met each other, Jaishankar said during the session Global GPS: War. India is the new voice of the world, on the second day of the India Today Conclave on Saturday.
In 2020, the Chinese violated protocols and we saw its consequences in Galwan and other areas as well. He stated that we have deployed our troops and stood our ground.
Our deployments are very close to the situation because there are places where our deployments are very fragile. Jaishankar was not mincing any words, as he said it was quite dangerous in military assessment.
The two countries have made a lot of progress when it comes to disengaging in several areas along the border. Jaishankar said it would continue despite the painstaking nature of the process. India would not tolerate any breach of peace and tranquility.
You can't violate agreements and then expect the rest of the relationship to continue as though nothing had happened. Jaishankar said that was not tenable.
He said that he had held a detailed discussion with the new Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang on this issue at the recent G 20 foreign ministers meeting in New Delhi. He had arrived in China at an in-principal agreement on resolving the border standoff with the former Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi earlier in the day.
The Chinese have to deliver on what was agreed to. Jaishankar said that they had struggled with that.
He emphasised that India would not take any unilateral measures as was the practice in the past, and that the disengagement would only proceed on mutually acceptable terms.
This government is very different. There is nothing unilateral. If we have taken a commitment, that commitment is matched by an equal commitment based on the principle of equal and mutual security on the Chinese side, he said, reaffirming the government's commitment to protecting the nation's sovereignty.
Jaishankar strongly rejected claims by some opposition parties, such as Congress, that the Chinese People's Liberation Army PLA had encroached on Indian territory in excess of 1,000 sq km. He said that those parties that neglected infrastructure development in border areas were wrong to believe that lack of connectivity would slow down the progress of the Chinese army in the event of an incursion.
In 2014 the budget for border infrastructure had been increased to 15,000 crore from just Rs 4,000 crore. He said that the pace of road building and tunneling had also tripled.
Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar shares what Beijing must do to improve relations with the Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.