(TibetanReview.net, Feb12’22) – Seriously questioning China’s credibility as a diplomatic partner, India’s External Affairs Minister Mr S Jaishankar has said Feb 12 that the current turbulent situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) had arisen due to the disregard of written agreements by China to not gather soldiers at the border.
Jaishankar has made the remark while addressing a press conference in Melbourne, Australia, on the sides of the Quad Foreign ministers’ meeting, responding to a question on the ongoing eastern Ladakh border standoff between Indian and Chinese troops.
“Yes, we (Quad) had a discussion on India-China relations because it was part of how we briefed each other about what was happening in our neighbourhood. And it’s an issue in which a lot of countries legitimately take interest, particularly if they are from the Indo-Pacific region,” indianexpress.com Feb 12 quote him as saying.
“When a large country disregards written commitments, I think it’s an issue of legitimate concern for the entire international community,” Jaishankar has said.
He has said the India-China relations (concerning the LAC) “is an issue in which a lot of countries legitimately take interest, particularly if they are from the Indo-Pacific region, because the situation has arisen due to the disregard by China in 2020 of written agreements with us not to amass forces at border,” he was quoted as saying during a joint press conference with his Australian counterpart Marise Payne.
Payne has said the concerns around China had been reiterated in the Quad Foreign Ministers’ joint statement that said “international law, peace, and security in the maritime domain underpins the development and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific”, and called for “adherence to international law, particularly as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the South and East China Seas.”
Immediately after the Quad foreign ministers meeting got over, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian gave a statement, calling the Quad grouping a “deliberate move to stoke confrontation and undermine international solidarity and cooperation.” He added that it was meant to “contain China.”
India and Australia reacted by saying the meeting was “not against anything” and added that the group’s main aim was to build resilience and promote a region without the threat of coercion or intimidation, reported the republicworld.com Feb 12.
“Our record, actions and stance are fairly clear. Criticizing it repeatedly doesn’t make us less credible,” Jaishankar has said during the joint press conference.
Jaishankar’s remarks came a day after a local official was widely cited in the Indian media as saying Chinese soldiers had entered Indian territory on Jan 28 in Ladakh and chased away local people grazing their herd in the area. “There was an incident on January 28, when PLA troops came into our territory, they drove away the grazing herds from our own territory. They did not take anyone, but shooed the nomads and herds away,” the Block Development Chairperson of Nyoma, Ms Urgain Chodon, was quoted as saying.
Known as the ‘Quadrilateral Security Dialogue’ (QSD), the Quad is an informal strategic forum comprising four nations, namely the United States of America, India, Australia and Japan. One of the primary objectives of the Quad is to work for a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
The others who took part in the Quad meeting were US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japan’s Yoshimasa Hayashi.