India-China Disengagement at Patrolling Point 15 ‘One Problem Less’ on Border: Jaishankar

The disengagement between the armies of India and China at the Patrolling Point 15 in eastern Ladakh is “one problem less” on the border, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.

At a media briefing after his talks with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, Jaishankar also took an indirect pot shot at China while replying to a question about ”one country” blocking proposals at the UN Security Council to designate proscribed terrorists.

“I do not think I will say anything new today except I would recognise that we have had disengagement at PP-15 (Patrolling Point 15). The disengagement as I understand was completed. That is one problem less on the border,” Jaishankar said, in response to a question. Indian and Chinese armies carried out a joint verification of the disengagement process at PP-15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings area in eastern Ladakh after withdrawing their troops and dismantling temporary infrastructure from the friction point on Monday.

The disengagement that came days ahead of the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Uzbek city of Samarkand for the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, triggered speculations about a bilateral meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines the summit this week. However, there is no official word on it either by the Indian side or by the Chinese government.

Modi is scheduled to reach Samarkand on Thursday evening and is set to return home late Friday. On the sidelines of the SCO summit, Modi is set to have separate bilateral meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

To a question on “one country” blocking proposals at the UN Security Council to designate Pakistan-based terrorists, Jaishankar said the listing is done as terrorists are a threat to the entire international community. “Regarding the listing where India and France have cooperated for many years, I think the listing of terrorists is done because the terrorists are a threat to the entire international community,” he said.

“So it is not something which countries necessarily do in pursuit of a narrow national agenda. If somebody blocks listing particularly in cases where the merits of going ahead are very apparent, I think they do so frankly at peril to their own interests and their own reputation,” he said. Last month, China blocked a move at the UN Security Council to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) deputy chief Abdul Rauf Azhar as a global terrorist.

China put a technical hold on the joint proposal by India and the US to designate the JeM leader, who is the younger brother of the outfit’s chief Masood Azhar. All other 14 member states of the top UN body supported the proposal.

The Chinese action came less than a month after Beijing blocked a similar joint proposal by India and the US to blacklist Pakistan-based deputy leader of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba Abdul Rehman Makki. To a question on China’s military muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific, Jaishankar said it is important for like-minded countries to work together to contribute to ensuring peace, stability, security and prosperity in the region.

“We consider France a very much Indo-Pacific player and also a country which has a long-standing presence in the Indian Ocean. So that is also something we specifically discussed,” he said about his talks with Colonna.

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