External affairs minister S Jaishankar said China had given India as many as 5 “differing explanations” for heavy deployment at the LAC and that the Sino-Indian relationship was passing through the “most difficult phase” because of Beijing’s violation of bilateral agreements. He also said the Galwan clashes in June, which resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers, had completely changed the national sentiment.
“We are today probably at the most difficult phase of our relationship with China, certainly in the last 30 to 40 years,” Jaishankar said during an online interactive session organised by Australian think tank Lowy Institute. The relationship this year has been very significantly damaged, he said.
Jaishankar said the “very big issue” now was how to get the relationship back on track. “We are very clear that maintaining peace and tranquillity along the LAC is the basis for the rest of the relationship to progress. You can’t have the kind of situation you have on the border and say let’s carry on with life. It’s just unrealistic,” he said.
“We have this problem because from 1988, our relationship had its hiccups, we had our issues and differences but the direction of the ties broadly were positive,” he added. He said the relationship progressed in trade, travel and various other domains as both sides inked several pacts to maintain peace and tranquillity along the LAC.
He said multiple agreements were inked from 1993 with a commitment that both parties will not bring a large number of troops to the border areas. “Now for some reason, for which the Chinese have given us five differing explanations, the Chinese have violated it ...Naturally the relationship would be profoundly disturbed by this,” he said.