India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said ties with Beijing have been “significantly damaged” this year in the backdrop of the Galwan Valley incident and the ongoing buildup has “completely changed national sentiment”.

India lost 20 of its soldiers due to aggressive action by Chinese forces in Galwan Valley in June this year.

Speaking at a virtual event Jaishankar said, “We are today probably at the most difficult phase of our relationship with China. Certainly in the last 30-40 years. The last time there were military casualties on our borders was in 1975.”

The Chinese forces had started their build-up at the Line of Actual Control in the April-March period and still continues to remain in Eastern Ladakh.

The EAM pointed out that the direction of ties was “positive” since 1988, adding, while border issues were being discussed, both countries never had a “major breach of understanding”.

China has given India 5 different explanation for the current situation but a lot of agreements are being violated by the country including bringing “tens of thousands of soldiers in full military preparation mode right to the LAC in Ladakh” and therefore “naturally the relationship will be profoundly disturbed by this”, Jaishankar said.

“How do we get relationship back is a very big issue, we are very clear maintaining peace and tranquillity at LAC is the basis of the rest of the relationship to progress,” he said.

Several rounds of diplomatic and military talks have happened between the 2 countries to defuse the situation. EAM Jaishankar & Defence Minister Rajnath Singh both had met their respective counterparts in September in Moscow but the stand-off continues at the LAC.

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