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Confidence with China “deeply shaken”, US ties on the rise: Jaishankar | India News

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NEW DELHI: Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Tuesday that trust with China had been deeply affected after last summer’s border clash, which resulted in the first combat deaths in 45 years.
Ties with the United States, on the other hand, were converging and likely to expand under the new administration in Washington, India’s top diplomat told the Reuters Next conference.
Tensions with China flared in June, when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in brutal hand-to-hand combat, while China suffered an unknown number of casualties in the clash in a disputed section of the border in the western Himalayas.
Both sides have been heavily deployed in the disputed area, and the escalation poses the most serious military crisis among nuclear-armed neighbors in decades.
“After 45 years, it has indeed had bloodshed on the border. And that has had a huge impact on public opinion and politics … really the impact of confidence in India as far as China and their relationship. That has been deeply disturbed, “said Jaishankar.
The two countries fought a border war in 1962, but until last summer they had largely kept tensions at bay along the Royal Line of Control, the de facto border, while expanding trade ties.
“Now, last year, for reasons that we are not clear about, the Chinese really brought a huge military force to one part of the border. And then at the Royal Line of Control, we obviously went up when we saw them coming and that’s kind of of friction points created along the actual Line of Control, “said Jaishankar.
Several rounds of military and diplomatic negotiations have taken place, but there has been no withdrawal of forces from the front line. India hopes the talks will lead to a friendly settlement, Indian Army Chief Manoj Mukund Narvane said on Tuesday.
Ties with the United States on the rise
Jaishankar said relations with the United States were on the rise and he was confident of its direction under the incoming Biden administration.
“When I look at many of the challenges that we face, the US is going to be much more open in finding partners and I am confident where we are going with the relationship.”
India has established close defense ties with Washington, buying more than $ 20 billion worth of weapons in the past 15 years, while diversifying away from traditional supplier Russia.
Along with allies the United States, Japan, and Australia, it has participated in naval exercises in the Indian Ocean that security analysts say are part of attempts to balance China’s assertive actions in the region.
“Structurally, the relationship with the United States is very solid, it has very unique elements, there is political convergence, a growing convergence of security and defense,” said Jaishankar.
However, in trade, the two countries got bogged down in the details and lost “wood for trees,” he said. Negotiators have been working toward a mini-trade pact for months with no progress.
Jaishankar said that India would respond positively to any offer or invitation from the Biden administration to restart some kind of free trade talks.

Times of India

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