China’s military deployment along its disputed Himalayan border with India and uncertainty over whether Beijing will fulfill its promise on troop reductions remains a challenge for relations between the two neighbors, Foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said.
“The issue there is whether China would live up to the commitments it has made — written commitments it has made — about both countries not allowing a large armed force at the border,” Mr Jaishankar said in an interview with Bloomberg’s Jeanette Rodrigues at the Qatar Economic Forum Tuesday. China’s “close-up deployment still continues, especially in Ladakh.”
His comments come a year after 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese troops were killed in the bloodiest clashes between the two sides in more than four decades.
Since the flare up with China, which coincided with the coronavirus pandemic, India has strengthened its partnership with the Quad — an informal grouping which includes the U.S., Australia and Japan. Mr Jaishankar, who attended the Group of Seven meeting in the U.K. this month, said New Delhi shares its concern on building reliable supply chains and can contribute by ramping up its own manufacturing capacities.
The South Asian nation has also sought support from the U.S. and Europe to boost its vaccine production, the minister said. The world’s biggest producer of vaccines exported or gifted shots to over 90 countries initially, but halted that in April amid a spike in infections and a shortage of inoculations for its own citizens. India’s decision has also hurt supplies to Covax, the World Health Organization-backed initiative set up to purchase shots for low- and middle-income countries.
CommentsWhen India started its vaccine program “we were living up to our obligations with the Covax, we were supplying to some of our neighbors,” Mr Jaishankar said. “Now when the second wave hit us, obviously we looked to purpose the deployment of vaccines primarily at home. But I am quite confident as the production picks up, again we see ourselves playing a global role.”