New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Thursday said that China tried to coerce India in 2020 during the Galwan stand-off by violating agreements, so unless there was peace on the borders, there cannot be normalcy in bilateral relations.
While addressing a press conference on the occasion of highlighting the achievements of the NDA government’s nine years in office, the Minister said that there were challenges of cross-border terrorism when it comes to bilateral relations with Pakistan, which India has never tolerated.
He said that India does not get swayed by coercion, inducements and false narratives.
Jaishankar added that India has de-legitimised cross-border terrorism.
However at the same time, he explained that bilateral engagement will continue with China, as disengagement (on borders) is a detailed process.
“We want peace with China, but if peace agreements are violated then what can be done. However talks happen. We spoke to China just before Galwan happened… We told them about movement of their troops. I spoke to them just a day after Galwan. We have to find a way to disengage, otherwise relations (with China) will remain impaired if the border situation doesn’t improve,” he said.
Jaishankar described the situation in Galwan as “complicated”.
“It is not about capturing of land by China (he said in response to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s charges of China capturing significant amount of land after Galwan). Both sides made forward deployments,” he explained.
While responding to a series of questions on Rahul Gandhi’s statements on China capturing Indian territories, Jaishankar said that the Congress leader says many things.
“He (Rahul) referred to a bridge being built by China on Pangong Tso lake. But that was on territory captured by China in 1962. China has captured territories in India since 1950s. However in 2020 we had to do forward deployment, which caused tension,” Jaishankar said.
He said that such issues should not be made out to be a point scoring exercise, but should be debated.
“People make it out as it’s happened now. Our own borders were neglected for a long time and whenever efforts were made to develop border infrastructure, environmental issues became an issue. Till 2014 our border infrastructure budget was Rs 4,000 crore, which has now gone up to Rs 40,000 crore,” Jaishankar informed.
In context to India’s relations with other neighbouring countries — Pakistan, Jaishankar said that with other nations, New Delhi has strong ties.
However challenges with Pakistan are there, especially as it propagates cross-border terrorism, which we never tolerated, the Minister said.
Earlier while presenting a report card of India’s foreign policy during the last nine years of NDA government, Jaishankar said large parts of world now see India as a development partner and that the Global South perceives India as a reliable partner.
He also said that India is making significant economic impact that has been recognised globally.