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DON’T WANT TO ‘PREDICT’ OUTCOME OF ONGOING DISCUSSIONS: S JAISHANKAR ON LADAKH TALKS

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Reacting on China’s remark on Ladakh, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar has said he would not wish to “predict” the outcome of the ongoing discussions between the two countries on the dispute.

“The discussions are going on. It is a work in progress and the first rule of my business is – don’t predict what is still going on,” he said at the Bloomberg India Economic Forum.

Foreign Minister’s remarks come a day after the seventh round of commander-level talks.

“What is going on is something confidential between us and China and we will see how it plays out,” he said.

Yesterday, India in a sharp assertion had said that China has no locus standi to comment on its internal matters. The comments come as a reaction to Beijing’s remarks after the opening of 44 bridges in border areas on Monday.

“The Union Territories of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir have been, are and will remain an integral part of India,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

“Our position on Arunachal Pradesh has also been made clear several times. Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of India. This fact has also been clearly conveyed to the Chinese side on several occasions, including at the highest level,” he added.

On Monday, reacting on the construction of 44 new bridges near the borders which were opened by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, China had said it “does not recognize the Ladakh Union Territory” and opposes infrastructure building by India in the region.

“First I want to make it clear that China does not recognise the Ladakh Union Territory illegally set up by the Indian side and the Arunachal Pradesh. We stand against the development of infrastructure facilities aimed at military contention along the border area,” said the Chinese spokesperson.

Zhao Lijian, the spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, had also called border infrastructure development “the root cause for the tension between the two sides” and said neither side should take action that might escalate tension.