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India rejects China’s overtures, says border settlement must for normalizing ties

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(TibetanReview.net, Apr28’23) – China has painted a rosy picture of the India-China ties in its official readout and attempted to sideline the border issue. But India would have none of it, insisting that bilateral ties can develop further only if peace and tranquillity at the borders is maintained. China’s defense minister Li Shangfu has also told his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh in their New Delhi meeting on Apr 27 that conditions along the disputed high-altitude border were “stable overall,” in sharp contrast to India’s grim assessment of the situation there.

Li’s remarks came in a statement issued by the Ministry of National Defense of China shortly after his meeting with Singh.

“China and India have far more common interests than differences,” Li has said, reiterating Beijing oft-repeated assertion which India has always rejected in recent times.

“At present, conditions on the China-Indian border are stable overall,” Li has said, adding, the two sides should “take a long-term view, put the border issue at an appropriate place in bilateral relations, and promote the normalization of the border situation as soon as possible.”

In contrast, India’s defence ministry has quoted Singh as saying in its statement that China had eroded the “entire basis” of ties between the countries by violating bilateral agreements, in reference to a nearly 3-year-old standoff involving tens of thousands of soldiers stationed by both the sides along their disputed border in the Ladakh region.

The development of India-China relations “is premised on the prevalence of peace and tranquility at the borders” and all border issues need to be resolved in accordance with existing agreements and commitments, the ministry has said.

India and China have signed five border pacts since 1993, and the former accuses the latter of violating them through territorial transgressions with the insidious aim to redraw the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two sides.

The differing tone of the statements reflects India’s desire to draw attention to what it says is the deployment of a large number of Chinese troops, their aggressive behavior, and attempts to unilaterally alter the border status quo between the countries, noted the abcnews.go.com Apr 28.

The report added that China, for its part, has tried to downplay moves to consolidate its border presence and often portrays the frictions as part of deliberate US attempts to sow discord between the two nuclear-armed Asian giants.

An LAC separates Chinese and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, the latter of which China claims in its entirety as southern Tibet. As its name implies, the demarcation line divides the areas of physical control rather than territorial claims. Differences in the perception of the LAC is often stated to cause disputes and even physical clashes between troops from the two sides.

Li was visiting New Delhi to attend a meeting of the defense chiefs of the Chinese and Russian-dominated Shanghai Cooperation Organization on today.

The group, formed originally to constrain US influence in the region, consists of China, India, Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

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