‘If you need to deal with them you need to have…’: S Jaishankar on relationship with China

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S Jaishankar, India’s External Affairs Minister, stated on Saturday that India needs to exhibit patience and perseverance in managing its relationship with China. He made these remarks during the India Today Conclave 2024.

Jaishankar emphasised the need for India to fortify its domestic sector in order to effectively counter the challenges posed by China.

“We need to recognise that we have a very challenging, strategic neighbour. It’s not just about the boundary issue. There are major economic issues as well,” Jaishankar said.

He acknowledged the unique challenge of having a strategically difficult neighbour like China, with the boundary issue and major economic issues further compounding the situation. He urged India to gear up its economy to address these challenges.

“If you need to deal with China you need to have an economy which is geared up for it,” he added.

Jaishankar also touched upon the deterioration of India-China relations following the 2020 Galwan clashes, indicating that there had been a build-up of tension over time.

He suggested that a lack of honesty and strategic planning had exacerbated the situation.

He also reflected on past perceptions of China, stating that if similar sentiments were uttered today, it would leave people perplexed.

He went on to acknowledge that it was only in the past decade that India had pivoted its focus to strengthening its manufacturing sector in order to compete with China.

On the issue of military-level talks with China, Jaishankar mentioned challenges arising from border patrolling due to both forces being forward deployed.

He reiterated the importance of patience and perseverance, given the substantial deployment of troops and weaponry near the border.

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