India’s relations with China has not deteriorated recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Government on Wednesday informed the Lok Sabha, notwithstanding the four-month-long military stand-off along the disputed boundary between the two nations in eastern Ladakh.
The Modi Government denied any downslide in New Delhi’s relations with Beijing, although it earlier stated that the situation in India-China border areas could not be separated from the future of the ties between the two nations.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) shared with the Lok Sabha its view on the India-China relations in response to a question.
Saugata Ray of the Trinamool Congress asked the government if India’s relations with China and Nepal as well as other neighbours like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Myanmar had deteriorated recently. “No”, Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan, stated in a written reply to the question submitted by the MP from West Bengal.
The MEA’s statement on the status of India-China relations came just a day after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha that India was “facing a challenge” along its disputed boundary with China in Ladakh and prepared “to deal with all contingencies”, even as it would remain committed to peacefully resolve the military stand-off with the neighbouring communist country.
Two days after the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had suffered casualties in a violent face-off in Galwan Valley on June 15, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had conveyed to his counterpart in the communist country, Wang Yi, that the incident would have “serious impact” on bilateral relationship.
New Delhi’s envoy to Beijing, Vikram Mishri, had also said on June 26 that the Chinese PLA’s aggressive moves to unilaterally change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto boundary between the India and China in western sector – had damaged “considerable trust” in bilateral relations.
The External Affairs Minister had also recently said in an interview to a web portal that the state of the border could not be separated from the future of the relations between India and China. Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla too had of late said that the “business cannot be as usual” between India and China unless and until the communist country pulls back its soldiers and restores the status quo ante that existed before the stand-off along the disputed boundary between the two nations started.
The MEA, however, on Wednesday denied any deterioration in ties between India and China.
The Minister of State for External Affairs on Wednesday also made the same observation on India-Nepal relations, although ties between New Delhi and Kathmandu soured over the past few months as the K P Sharma Oli’s government in the neighbouring country ratcheted up territorial disputes between the two nations.
Muraleedharan said that the government accorded the highest priority to India’s relations with its neighbouring countries. “India is an active political and economic partner of its neighbours and is involved in various projects, including development projects with these countries,” he stated in the written reply in the Lok Sabha. “India’s relations with other countries stand on their own footing and are independent of the relations of those countries with third countries.”