Highlights:

  • Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla on Monday affirmed that India has informed China that peace in border areas is essential for establishing bilateral ties
  • He categorized the standoff with China and the situation in Afghanistan among the geopolitical challenges in India’s immediate neighborhood
  • India has demanded an overall normalization of relations with China is in connection to disengagement and de-escalation at the friction points on the LAC

Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla on Monday affirmed that India has informed China that peace in border areas is essential for establishing bilateral ties in the view of Chinese attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) over the last year.

While addressing JP Morgan’s India Investor Summit, Shringla noted that as an immediate neighbor of Afghanistan, India is also concerned after the Taliban takeover of the country and its implication for the region.

The Foreign Secretary while narrating on the theme, “India’s foreign policy and its strategic imperative: The way forward, mentioned “megatrends” the country is confronting with, involving a rebalancing in which the global activity is moving towards Asia, the rise of China, the pressure on international systems, the vulnerability of global supply and value chains, emerging technologies, together with “a battle between the school of thoughts.”

He categorized the standoff with China and the situation in Afghanistan among the geopolitical challenges in India’s immediate neighborhood. He added that these situations were a reminder that traditional security challenges continue even after the new realities are making them felt.

Shringla proclaimed, “Chinese attempts over the last year to unilaterally alter the status quo in Ladakh have seriously disturbed peace and tranquillity in the border areas. These acts are in violation of our bilateral agreements and have inevitably impacted other aspects of the bilateral relationship.”

He continued, “We have made it clear to the Chinese side that peace and tranquillity in border areas are essential for the development of our relationship. Development of India and China relationship can only be based on three mutuals- mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interest.” He noted that India- China ties over the past 40 years were mainly due to the agreement between the two sides to ensure peace and tranquillity in border areas.

Furthermore, India has demanded an overall normalization of relations with China in connection to disengagement and de-escalation at the friction points on the LAC. Meanwhile, Beijing has asserted that New Delhi should take forward relations in other areas while dealing with the border standoff separately.

The Foreign secretary voiced that India is “naturally concerned about the recent changes within Afghanistan and their implications” for the region. He cited that while the immediate aim has been on evacuating Indian nationals from Afghanistan, the recent UN Security Council resolution 2593directs that the Afghan soil should not be used for terrorist activities and also noted that it specifically refers to terrorists proscribed by the Security Council, along with those from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

While affirming that most of the Indians were able to escape from Kabul along with a number of Afghans and minorities who wished to travel to India, he emphasized, “this process could not be completed due to the security situation at the airport. Resumption of flights from Kabul airport is, therefore, a priority.”

India is also keeping an eye on developments pertaining to the humanitarian needs of Afghanistan. He asserted that the distribution of humanitarian assistance has been executed in a non-discriminatory way to all sections of the Afghan society, and India’s approach to Afghanistan is led by the civilizational relationship with the Afghan people.

He also mentioned India’s development aid estimated at a cost of $3 billion and over 500 projects across the 34 provinces of the war-torn country, expressing that it ensured tremendous goodwill for the country.

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