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Progress made at ‘friction points’ in eastern Ladakh: EAM Jaishankar on Sino-India border

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India and China made progress in five-six friction points along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh through talks in the last three years and efforts are underway to resolve the remaining issues, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday.

Rejecting the opposition’s criticism of the government on the lingering border row, he told a group of reporters that complexities are involved and both sides are engaged to find solutions.

The Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over three-year confrontation in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.

“It was said that we will not be able to do anything, talks will not be successful, there will be no progress, disengagement cannot take place, but solutions were found in some of the focal points in the last three years,” he said.

“There were five-six areas that were very tense. There has been progress (there),” he said.

Highlighting the government’s priority to develop border infrastructure, Jaishankar said the armed forces are now better placed to quickly deploy troops and counter-movement of the Chinese military effectively.

If you ask whether, after 2014, the Indian military and the Indian Air Force are able to deploy and counter any Chinese movement better, the answer is “yes, absolutely,” he said.

Jaishankar said the overall mobility of both the armed forces and the civilian population in the border areas has increased tremendously in the last few years because of the government’s focus on rapid enhancement of infrastructure in the frontier areas.

“The capability is growing year after year,” he said.The minister said the infrastructure push along the Northern border is going to determine India’s response to national security challenges.

The ties between India and China nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.

India has made it clear to China that until there is peace and tranquillity in border areas, the relationship between the two countries cannot progress.Jaishankar said India is also boosting connectivity with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.India is in talks with Bhutan for a rail link between that country and Assam, he said.

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