'India is being tested; will meet national security challenge'

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said India was being tested in the seven-month-long border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh and expressed confidence that the country will meet the national security challenge.

Calling the “events” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh “very disturbing”, Jaishankar also said what has happened there was not in China’s interest as it is facing the prospect of losing goodwill in India that was developed carefully in the recent decades.

He said these events have raised some very “basic concerns” as the “other party” has not abided by agreements on respecting the LAC.

Participating in an interactive session at the annual general meeting of the industry body FICCI, he declined to be drawn into a discussion on any timeline for a resolution of the standoff.

When asked whether it will be a long-haul or a breakthrough is expected soon for a resolution to the military standoff, Jaishankar said: “I would not go into prediction zone at all, whether it is going to be easy or not, and what will be the timelines.”

“I do not believe that the events of this year have helped at all. In fact I think the real danger is that the goodwill which was so carefully developed will dissipate,” he said.

“But I also would say that, yes, we are being tested. I have every confidence that we will rise to the occasion; we will meet that national security challenge. But beyond that, at this time, I would really frankly keep my own counsel.”

The armies of India and China are locked in a tense border standoff in eastern Ladakh since early May. Both sides have held multiple rounds of military and diplomatic talks. However, no breakthrough has been achieved yet. “I also believe that what has happened is not actually in the interest of China. Because what it has done is — it has significantly impacted public sentiment (in India).