Tuesday, 6 December, 2022
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‘India strives for a relationship with China but...’

‘India strives for a relationship with China but...’

WASHINGTON: External affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday that India strives for a relationship with China that is based on mutual sensitivity, respect and interest, reports the Times of India.

What I have said, to my mind represents accurate policy assessment of where the state of our relations is. We continue to strive for a relationship with China, but one that is built on mutual sensitivity, mutual respect and mutual interest, Jaishankar said during a media briefing in Washington.

Jaishankar made the remarks while responding to a question on the consistent comments from Beijing about how things are okay between the two countries.

Responding to a question on how India and the US are planning to handle a belligerent China, he said the two countries have a shared objective of betterment and strengthening of the Indo-Pacific.

Where Indian and US interests converge, and they do, I think, is on the stability and the security, the progress, the prosperity, the development of the Indo Pacific. Because you have seen, even in the case of Ukraine, a war fought a great distance away, has the potential, has the capability of actually creating turbulence across the world in terms of implications for the daily lives of people, he said.

Jaishankar said the world today is very globalised, extremely interlocked, and interdependent.

It is therefore to say that we have skin in the game is an understatement. I think we have vital stakes today in ensuring that the larger region is stable, that it is secured; that there is cooperation and that the focus is on the right things, he said.

To my view, what we have seen in recent years, is an India whose interests and inclinations extend sufficiently eastwards into the Pacific and the United States, which is open enough to work flexibly and comfortably with partners going beyond the orthodox limitations in the past of treaties and alliances, he said.

Jaishankar said the world has changed and everyone appreciates that no single country by itself can shoulder the responsibilities or the burdens of international peace and common good.

To me, in a globalised world, countries are conscious today that the world is not unipolar, it’s not bipolar, they need there to be multiple players, they need to work together, there are common interests at stake out here. The rest of the region actually looks at the more capable countries to pull their weight and work together. I think that’s the kind of situation, he said.

India-US is one part of it, we have a bigger gathering, coordination in terms of the quad, but there are still bigger ones. If you look at two new initiatives, the Indo Pacific Economic Framework and the Indo Pacific initiative for maritime domain awareness, they extend beyond them. They are open and they have multiple players out there, he noted.

Meanwhile, Chinese ambassador to India Sun Weidong said that the situation on the India-China border is overall stable and the two sides have moved from the emergency response that followed the clash in Galwan Valley in June 2020 to normalised management and control.

I think if the spokesperson of a foreign ministry were to say something, I would urge you to see a comment from the spokesperson of the foreign ministry of the corresponding country, Jaishankar responded when asked for his reaction to Weidong’s comment.

Jaishankars comments clearly go against the Chinese position that the overall India-China relationship is normal.

Just days before Jaishankar hit out at China, without naming it, as he spoke at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session on Ukraine. In a reference to Beijing’s decision to block the listing of terrorists, Jaishankar said The fight against impunity is critical to the larger pursuit of securing peace and justice. The Security Council must send an unambiguous and unequivocal message on this count. Politics should never ever provide cover to evade accountability. Nor indeed to facilitate impunity.

Regrettably, we have seen this of late in this very chamber, when it comes to sanctioning some of the world’s most dreaded terrorists. If egregious attacks committed in broad daylight are left unpunished, this Council must reflect on the signals we are sending with impunity. There must be consistency if we are to ensure credibility.

A day after his comment at UNSC, Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart foreign minister Wang Yi had a brief encounter when photos were taken at a BRICS gathering in New York last week and there was an awkward unease. There were no bilateral meetings between the two foreign ministers.

A similar awkward encounter was also visible when Prime Minister Modi stood beside Chinese President Xi Jinping during a group photo session at the recent Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, there were no exchanges between the two leaders.

India and China have withdrawn frontline troops from the two banks of Pangong Lake, Gogra and Hot Springs after more than two dozen rounds of diplomatic and military talks. However, there has been no forward movement on other friction points such as Demchok and Depsang.

Following the eastern Ladakh standoff, India has been consistently maintaining that peace along the Line of Actual Control was key for the overall development of the ties and that the state of the border will determine the state of the relationship.

The need to reform the UN Security Council cannot be denied forever, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said even as he noted that India never believed that this will be an easy process.

Currently, UNSC has five permanent members — China, France, Russia, the UK and the US. India is among the ten non-permanent members of the body. Only a permanent member has the power to veto any substantive resolution.

India has been at the forefront of the years-long efforts to reform the security council, saying it rightly deserved a place as a permanent member.

We have, we have never thought that it was an easy process. But we do believe that the need for reform cannot be denied forever, Jaishankar said during the briefing.

He was responding to a question on the seriousness on the part of the US on reforming the Security Council.

My understanding is that the position that President (Joe) Biden put forward, is the most explicit and specific articulation of the US support for reform of the UN, including the Security Council, he said.

So, I don’t think it’s a reiteration of something, I don’t think in that sense, it’s kind of business as usual. Now, how this advances, where it goes, I think, depends on all of us the members of the UN, and where we take it, he said.

It is not the responsibility of a single country, however powerful. I think it’s a collective effort that the members of the UN have to make. We have been pressing the reform effort, including through the IGN. And you also know where the reluctance comes from and let’s stay focused on it, Jaishankar said.