Focus on resolving border issues with China along LAC: Jaishankar outlines roadmap | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Focus on resolving border issues with China along LAC: Jaishankar outlines roadmap

Jun 11, 2024 12:31 PM IST

Since the military standoff with China began in May 2020, Jaishankar has maintained the Chinese side violated agreements on border management by massing troops close to the LAC

The new Indian government’s focus will be on resolving pending issues with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), external affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday as he began his second term in office.

The Chinese side has shown little interest in resolving “friction points” on the LAC at Depsang and Demchok. (Dr. S. Jaishankar | Official X account)
The Chinese side has shown little interest in resolving “friction points” on the LAC at Depsang and Demchok. (Dr. S. Jaishankar | Official X account)

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi responded to former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif’s message of replacing hate with hope by saying that the Indian people’s security will always remain a priority, Jaishankar said the main issue with Pakistan for years has been cross-border terrorism, which “cannot be the policy of a good neighbour”.

Jaishankar said “Bharat First” and “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (the world is one family) will be the two guiding axioms of India’s foreign policy during Modi’s third term to position the country as a “Vishwa Bandhu” (friend of the world) in a turbulent and divided world.

“As for Pakistan and China, they are different countries and our relations with them too are different, the problems there are also different,” Jaishankar said while responding to a question during a brief interaction with TV news channels before beginning his second term.

“In the case of China, our focus will the situation on the border – there are still some issues pending and how we can resolve them,” he said, speaking in Hindi.

Also Read:Day after oath, Jaishankar meets leaders of Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bangladesh

Since the military standoff with China began in May 2020, Jaishankar has maintained the Chinese side violated agreements on border management by massing troops close to the LAC. He has insisted that the overall India-China relationship cannot be normalised without peace and tranquillity on the border.

On the other hand, China has called for putting the border issue in its “appropriate place” in the overall relationship and taking forward ties in areas such as trade and investment.

The Chinese side has shown little interest in resolving “friction points” on the LAC at Depsang and Demchok even after dozens of rounds of diplomatic and military talks.

In the case of Pakistan, Jaishankar said, the main issue for years has been cross-border terrorism. “How do we find a solution to it, [since] that cannot be the policy of a good neighbour,” he said.

“Looking ahead, definitely, I think the two axioms that the prime minister has given us, Bharat First and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, will be the two guiding axioms of Indian foreign policy. And together we are very confident it will position us as Vishwa Bandhu... in a very turbulent world, in a very divided world, a world of conflicts and tensions,” Jaishankar said.

This approach will position India as a country “which is trusted by many, whose prestige and influence will grow, whose interests will be advanced”, he said.

Asked about the foreign policy priorities of the new government, Jaishankar said the administration had begun on the day of its swearing-in by reafforming its “Neighborhood First” policy by inviting the leaders of Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Seychelles and Sri Lanka to the inauguration.

“All our neighbours came [to the swearing-in] and the prime minister himself met all of them... I can tell you, they are leaving with a sense that our neighbouring relationships will be the first priority, will be the overriding priority of the Modi government,” he said.

Jaishankar ducked a question about a decision by a Maldivian parliamentary panel on Monday to investigate three agreements signed with India, including one to develop a naval base, by saying he had a “very good meeting” with Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu.

“Prime minister also met him, and I had the honour to call on him. So, I would prefer to be guided by what my experience and my conversations are,” he said without giving details.

Muizzu was a surprise inclusion among the leaders invited to the swearing-in ceremony on Sunday, given the strained ties between India and the Maldives.

Observers have said his presence at the event suggested a possible reset of the relationship.

Jaishankar said the external affairs ministry had become a “very people-centric ministry” over the past five years, including improved passport services, support from the community welfare fund to Indians abroad, and the response to the different needs of non-resident Indians.

The external affairs ministry is also working with other ministries to enhance investment flows, promote exports, and boost tourism inflows, he said.

India’s role has been steadily growing and other countries feel India is “truly their friend, they have seen how in times of trouble, if there was one country that stood with the Global South, it is India”, he said.

“They have seen that during our presidency of the G20, we took forward the membership of the African Union. The world believes in us, and our responsibilities are increasing,” he added.

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