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Situation with China ‘fragile, dangerous’ in Himalayan front, Indian FM warns

This picture, taken on September 28, 2021, shows Indian soldiers on guard near the under-construction Zojila tunnel in Ladakh, in the Himalayas. (Photo by AFP)

India has warned that the situation between New Delhi and Beijing across a disputed border area in the western Himalayas remains “fragile” and “dangerous.”

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar made the remarks at the India Today Conclave 2023 on Saturday, noting that military forces have been deployed very close to each other in some parts of the western Himalayan region of Ladakh.

"The situation to my mind still remains very fragile because there are places where our deployments are very close up and in military assessment therefore quite dangerous," Jaishankar said.

The Indian official also stressed that ties between India and China cannot go back to normal unless all outstanding border issues are resolved in line with the September 2020 agreement he reached with his Chinese counterpart.

"The Chinese have to deliver on what was agreed to, and they have struggled with that," he said, adding that although the two sides have disengaged from many areas, talks are still ongoing for other unresolved issues.

"We have made it very clear to the Chinese that we cannot have a breach of peace and tranquility, you can't violate agreement and want the rest of the relationship to continue as though nothing happened. That’s just not tenable," he stated.

Jaishankar further noted that he had discussed the border issues with his Chinese counterpart  Qin Gang during a meeting on the sidelines of G20 foreign ministers meeting hosted by New Delhi this month.

Troops from the two sides engaged in a deadly fighting in Ladakh region in June 2020. At least 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers lost their lives in the violence.

Both countries back then stationed tens of thousands of troops, backed by artillery, tanks, and fighter jets along the Line of Actual Control -- the de facto border separating Chinese and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India's eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety.

India and China have since held multiple rounds of military talks to resolve the dispute. 

The latest round of negotiations reached a dead-end in October.

India and China share an un-demarcated 3,800-km border. The two countries fought a brief but bloody border war in 1962 and distrust has occasionally led to flare-ups ever since.

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