The two Asian giants have been deadlocked over the border in the Himalayan region of Ladakh since June of this year.
New Delhi, India – India-China relations are in the “most difficult phase” of the past three to four decades, India’s foreign minister said, amid the months-long standoff at the border in the Himalayan region of Ladakh continues.
Tensions between India and China have been high since June, when at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash with Chinese troops involving stones and clubs.
China has not communicated the number of victims on its side.
The two countries accused each other of interfering across the loosely demarcated border, known as the Actual Line of Control (LAC).
“Today we are probably in the most difficult phase of our relations with China, certainly in the last 30 to 40 years,” Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said Wednesday during a virtual session of the Australian think tank the Lowy Institute. .
“We could argue even more. The last time there were military casualties at our borders was in 1975, so just to give you an idea of a time there.
Jaishankar said that since 1988 India-China relations have had problems but are moving in a positive direction.
He said that while the two countries took their time to resolve the border issue, it was understood that they would maintain “peace and quiet” along the border, saying the two countries had several agreements that called for it is up to both sides not to bring large forces to the border.
“Now for some reason the Chinese gave us five different explanations, the Chinese raped her,” he said. “The Chinese have literally brought tens of thousands of soldiers in full military preparation to the effective line of control in Ladakh. Of course, the relationship would be deeply disturbed, ”he said.
Months of tension
Thousands of soldiers on both sides have been locked in a clash, especially in Ladakh, since minor skirmishes were reported earlier in late April.
Several rounds of talks have taken place at the military and diplomatic levels, but have failed to resolve the border standoff.
“Based on the implementation of the current consensus, we will have consultations to determine specific arrangements for future talks,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Tuesday.
Former Indian diplomat and foreign policy analyst Phunchok Stobdan told Al Jazeera that Jaishankar’s comments illustrate how the relationship between the two countries has been damaged and that if China is to move forward, the problem of the border must be resolved.
“What he [India’s external affairs minister] trying to say is that all is not normal. Unless the border issue is resolved, things cannot be normalized, ”Stobdan said.
The minister’s comments also make it clear that relations are “indeed at a point of crisis,” according to Alka Acharya, professor of Chinese studies at the Center for East Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
Jaishankar made clear his “doubts as to how the relationship has now come to a point of very serious attention,” Acharya added.
“Although efforts are still ongoing, things seem very difficult,” she said, adding that a resolution will only work “when we agree on the strategic interests of the other”.
Andy Mok, senior researcher at the Beijing-based Center for China and Globalization, told Al Jazeera: “Sino-Indian relations are indeed facing a difficult period, but this is mainly due to the efforts to manipulate the India in an alliance against China.
“It would be unfortunate if he were seduced into such a new strategic posture as it would have a negative impact on India as well as regional stability and prosperity. India has much more to gain from working with China, not against it. “