In an interview External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that India has given an ‘enormous, unprecedented military response’ to China for its aggression along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh.

“I think there's been an enormous military response. If you look at the troops we have deployed there, it is pretty much unprecedented. Of course, it’s because their deployment is also unprecedented,” the minister said.

The minister said this in response to a question suggesting that the Narendra Modi government’s reaction to the situation in Ladakh has been more diplomatic, rather than trying a pushback against China at the LAC.

“No, no, not at all. Not at all. I would say, I don’t think it is factually true to suggest that there has not been a military response,” Jaishankar said.

“I think they have made their moves, and we have responded,” he added.

India and China have been locked in the most tense military standoff in over four decades since May this year. There has been little to no movement towards disengagement and de-escalation between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army even as harsh winter sets in.

The two sides have held eight rounds of military talks, apart from discussions between the foreign and defence ministers, to resolve the crisis along the LAC.

Laying out India’s position on the crisis in Eastern Ladakh, the External Affairs Minister said that China has violated “bilateral agreements that commit both countries not to amassing a large number of forces along the LAC”.

“Without credibly explaining why, the Chinese have chosen to violate that compact,” the minister added in his response.

He said that the India-China bilateral relationship in other sectors can’t remain unaffected if the peace and tranquillity along the LAC is absent.

“The progress in our bilateral ties have been very much predicated on peace and tranquillity along the LAC. If that is disturbed, as has been the case this year, then obviously, the rest of the relationship cannot be unaffected,” he said.

“We are not saying that progress in ties depends on solving the boundary question, but it clearly does on maintaining peace and tranquillity, while seeking a solution. And that has been the approach over three decades, and we have been consistent. The challenge today is whether we have the wisdom to be guided by the big picture. I used that term, I think in my book, whether we can take a long view of the relationship,” the External Affairs Minister added in his response.

The minister said he can’t reveal what is happening on the ground in Eastern Ladakh as the two countries are currently in the middle of negotiations.

“On the question of what is happening today with China and Ladakh, I will be very honest with you, I won’t be answering any of it because, as I said, I am in the middle of an ongoing negotiation,” the minister said.

“I think the situation on the ground is far more complicated than what you are suggesting. I don’t want to talk about it because it is ongoing and negotiating with them, or not negotiating through you. I don’t think that would be helpful,” he added.