NEW DELHI: India on Friday rejected the Chinese envoy’s recent comments on the return of stability to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), saying only withdrawal and de-escalation can ensure normalcy at the border.
Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said in a speech on September 27 that the situation on the border is “generally stable” and that the two countries have moved on from the “emergency response” that followed the Galwan Valley clash in June 2020 to a “normalized management and control”. .
Asked about Sun’s comments at a regular news conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said more must be done to restore normalcy at the border.
“Some steps are necessary for full normalcy and we certainly haven’t reached that stage. We want there to be a sequence: disconnection and then de-escalation and then there should be normalcy at the border so there can be some regularity or normality in the overall relationship,” he said.
Bagchi added: “You are aware of the way we view developments in LAC. We have said what steps should be there, such as withdrawal and de-escalation. Our Foreign Minister has also commented on this, and we said the same thing when the Chinese Foreign Minister visited [India in March].
“Our top leaders have also said that we haven’t gotten there… I wouldn’t say the situation is normal.”
Bagchi said there have been “some positive steps, but there are a few more steps ahead.” [to be taken]”.
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said last month that India-China relations are going through an “extremely difficult phase” due to Beijing’s actions in LAC and that it will be difficult to have an Asian century if the two countries do not they join.
Bilateral relations plummeted to an all-time low after China amassed tens of thousands of troops in the Ladakh sector of LAC and tried to upset 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 withdrew frontline troops from the two shores of Pangong Lake, Gogra and Hot Springs after more than two dozen rounds of diplomatic and military talks since the standoff began. However, there has been no forward movement at other sticking points such as Demchok and Depsang.
India has also rejected China’s call to put the border standoff in an “appropriate place” while advancing relations in other spheres such as trade.