Incident between Indian, Chinese militaries in Ladakh was 'not skirmish but face-off': Jaishankar

On China's aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea, Jaishankar said India is working in conjunction with the Vietnamese.

Published: 18th September 2019 12:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th September 2019 12:30 AM   |  A+A-

India China flag

Visual of Indian and Chinese flag used for representational purposes (File | AFP)


NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday said the recent incident between Indian and Chinese soldiers on the bank of the Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh was "not a skirmish" but a face-off which was resolved using bilateral mechanisms in place to defuse such situations.

A scuffle broke out between Indian and Chinese soldiers on the bank of the lake last Wednesday but the matter was swiftly resolved through talks between the two militaries.

The face-off had ended following delegation-level talks between the two sides.

Addressing the 100-day press conference of the Ministry of External Affairs, Union minister S Jaishankar said: "We did not have a skirmish, I want to be very clear I think there was what we call a face-off. It was resolved."

"From time to time that has happened and it has happened because you have deferring perceptions of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and patrols meet and some time that kind of situation happens. A lot of effort has gone into mechanisms and procedures to address such situations," the External Affairs Minister said.

In the recent incident, the mechanisms kicked into play and they addressed the issue as it had been done in the past, Jaishankar said.

India and China share a nearly 4,000-km-long border, major parts of which are disputed.

Both the countries are separated by the LAC in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

Asked about reports of Chinese ships around the Indian Ocean region, he said it was not a diplomatic matter, but an operational issue under the purview of the Navy.

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On China's aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea, Jaishankar said India is working in conjunction with the Vietnamese.

"I think a lot of the responses to that are being handled by the Vietnamese and that is the way it should be," he said.

He also called for patience on the announcement of dates and venue of Chinese President Xi Jinping's informal summit, saying it will be made public when details are finalised.

Asked if the visit of China's Special Representative for border talks Wang Yi had been rescheduled, Jaishankar said: "Often people float dates. For me, no dates are dates until (Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson) Raveesh Kumar says so. There was no rescheduling. Our NSA was preoccupied so not much should be read on that."

On India's position on the Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei, the minister said India will take a call not just on Huawei, but on 5G. "I believe there is a complicated process of trials and how that moves. Again I think people are unnecessarily politicising it. This is about telecom. There could be technological implications, there could be other implications," he said.

To look at it as a foreign policy choice would not be an accurate assessment, Jaishankar said.

Talking about the Wuhan spirit that emanated from the informal summit between President Xi and Prime Minister Modi, Jaishankar said that in the past a lot of conversations were "choreographed" and "very formal", while this meeting was very freewheeling.

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"It is important for both India and China, who are rising powers, to find equilibriums because each one of them have their own expectations of themselves and of each other," he said.

The principles that underlay Wuhan were from the Astana meeting between the two leaders which was that the relationship should be a source of stability in an uncertain world and also where "we have differences, those differences should not become disputes", the minister said.

Jaishankar also said India was seeing developments in Hong Kong with great attention.

On his remarks during his Beijing visit earlier this year, he said: "I actually said what we have done has not changed the external boundaries of India."

He also asserted that there was no change in India's stance on China's Belt and Road initiative which it opposes as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir which India asserts is its part.


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