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Peace along LAC ‘deeply disturbed’, says Jaishankar

Peace along LAC ‘deeply disturbed’, says Jaishankar
S Jaishankar
NEW DELHI, OCT 17 (IANS) | Publish Date: 10/17/2020 12:41:42 PM IST

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control(LAC) is “deeply disturbed” and this is obviously impacting the overall relationship between India and China.

Jaishankar made these comments against the backdrop of the over five-month-long border standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh where each side has deployed over 50,000 troops.

The Sino-India boundary question a very “complicated” and difficult issue, he said at a webinar on his book ‘The India Way’, giving a historical perspective to development of the relationship between the two neighbouring countries in the last three decades.

The external affairs minister said the relationship between India and China, which was “very difficult”, was normalised since late 1980s through a plethora of initiatives like trade, travel, tourism, and societal activities on the premise of peace and tranquillity along the border.

“It is not our position that we should solve the boundary question. We understand that it is a very complicated and difficult issue. There have been many negotiations at different levels...That is a very high bar for a relationship,” Jaishankar said.

“I am talking about a much more basic bar which is that there must be peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the border areas and that has been the case since the late 1980s,” he added.

“Now, if peace and tranquillity is deeply disturbed, then obviously there will be an impact on the relationship and that is what we are seeing,” he said referring to the border situation in eastern Ladakh.

Jaishankar said both China and India are rising and assuming “bigger” role in the world, but the “big question” is how the two countries find an “equilibrium”.

“That is the basic case I addressed in my book,” the minister said, adding he completed the manuscript of the book in April, before the border row erupted in eastern Ladakh.

Winter clothing for troops in Ladakh: Amid the standoff with China which has necessitated deployment of augmented army presence at the Line of Actual Control, India has gone for urgent purchase of additional high-altitude winter clothing from the US for troops deployed at forward locations in eastern Ladakh.

The winter clothing has been purchased under the Logistics Exchange Memorandum Agreement (LEMOA) between India and US. The agreement facilitates logistical support, supplies and services between the armed forces of the two countries, and includes clothing, food, lubricants, spare parts, medical services, among other essentials.

India is also looking to European markets to get more winter clothing for immediate requirements as its soldiers are braving temperatures of minus 25 degrees Celsius as they occupy 13 critical heights in south of Pangong Lake in Ladakh.

The seventh round of India-China military talks on October 12 at Chushul to resolve the border dispute in eastern Ladakh ended in deadlock, after around 11 hours of deliberations. The de-escalation of forces at the LAC during the winter is highly unlikely now and India has to set up a huge logistical arrangement.

On August 30, India occupied critical mountain heights like Rechin La, Rezang La, Mukpari, and Tabletop, that were unmanned till now, on the southern bank of the Pangong Lake. It also made some deployments near Blacktop also.

The deployment came after the Chinese tried to make a provocative military move. Now, dominance at these 13 peaks allows India to dominate Spangur Gap under Chinese control and also the Moldo garrison on the Chinese side.

The Indian Army now has to stock up winter items for around 35,000 extra troops deployed at the forward locations. Most of the friction points in Ladakh like Pangong Lake and Galwan Valley where the face-offs have occurred are 15,000 feet above the sea level.

Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria had, earlier this month, stated that India sees China digging in for the winter along the disputed border, and that India is taking action based on the ground realities.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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