India-China ties going through 'bad patch; India's interests will be served by 'much closer' ties with the US: Foreign Minister

India and China are going through “a particularly bad patch” in their relationship because Beijing has taken actions “for which they still don’t have a credible explanation”, and the Chinese leadership has to take a call on where they want to take the bilateral ties, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Friday

Nov 20, 2021
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Foreign minister S. Jaishankar. (PTI)

India and China are going through “a particularly bad patch” in their relationship because Beijing has taken actions “for which they still don’t have a credible explanation”, and the Chinese leadership has to take a call on where they want to take the bilateral ties, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Friday. Speaking at the Bloomberg New Economic Forum in Singapore at a panel discussion on ‘Greater power competition: The emerging world order’, Jaishankar also said that India’s interests would be “definitely served with a much closer relationship with the United States”.

Jaishankar said that he had spoken to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi a number of times "clearly", and there is “no lack of clarity” on what India had conveyed to the Chinese side about what New Delhi expects from Beijing and of the relationship. 

“I don’t think the Chinese have any doubt on where we stand on our relationship, and what’s not gone right with it.

“I’ve been meeting my counterpart Wang Yi a number of times… I speak fairly clearly, reasonably understandably, there is no lack of clarity.

“So if they want to hear it I am sure they would have heard it; but the issue where is India positioned, yes, some of it is about China, because they are our neighbour, and we are going through a particularly bad patch in our relationship, because they’ve taken a set of actions in violation of agreements, for which they still don’t have a credible explanation; and that appears to indicate some rethink about where they want to take our relationship, but that’s for them to answer,” he said.

That the Indian foreign minister chose to speak in Singapore, at the heart of ASEAN, about India's troubled ties with China and its larger foreign policy orientation, ever since their military dispute broke out in Galwan Valley in Ladakh last year resulting in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers, was significant because of China's looming presence over the region, commercially, militarily and politically. 

His comments come as India and China held the 23rd meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) on Thursday and agreed on the need to find an early resolution to the remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh and to hold the next round – 14th round - of the Senior Commanders meeting at an early date.

Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during their meeting in September in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation agreed that military and diplomatic officials of the two sides should continue their discussions to resolve the remaining issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.

The standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies in eastern Ladakh erupted on May 5 last year following a violent clash in the Pangong Lake area.

(SAM)