‘China In Violation Of Agreements, Very Abnormal Deployment Along LAC’: Jaishankar On Border Standoff

India-China Border Standoff: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday raised concerns over the abnormal deployment of forces at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. Emphasising the paramount importance of national security, Jaishankar highlighted India’s response to the Galwan clash and the subsequent counter-deployment of forces.

In an address at an event organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Kolkata, Jaishankar recalled former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to China in 1988 as a crucial step towards normalising bilateral relations. “There was a clear understanding that we will discuss our boundary differences but we will maintain peace and tranquillity on the border. And the rest of the relationship will carry on,” the minister stated, as quoted by news agency PTI.

However, Jaishankar lamented the tumultuous developments of 2020, citing China’s violation of multiple agreements by deploying a significant number of forces along the border during India’s COVID-19 lockdown. The External Affairs Minister said that India responded by counter-deployment of forces and for four years now, forces have been deployed ahead of the normal base positions at Galwan.

“For four years now, we are both deployed ahead of our normal base positions. It is a very abnormal deployment today along the Line of Actual Control. Given the tension between the two countries, it’s not a matter of we had a conflict 62 years ago. It is about what is happening today on the border. As Indian citizens, none of us should disregard the security of the country… it is today a challenge,” he asserted.

A total of 20 Indian soldiers died in the Galwan Valley clash which is the worst in over four decades at the India-China border.

In addition to security concerns, Jaishankar underscored economic challenges exacerbated by alleged neglect in the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors in previous years. Expressing apprehension over India’s significant imports from China, he queried, “Why is Indian business buying so much from China… Is it good to be dependent on some other source?”

Addressing the broader global discourse on economic security, Jaishankar advocated for shorter and reliable supply chains, particularly in sensitive sectors, to fulfill national security obligations. “Countries feel today that many core businesses must stay within the country. The supply chain should be shorter and reliable… In the sensitive sectors, we will be careful… There is a national security obligation,” he said, as quoted by PTI.

He also touched upon India’s positive relations with Russia, citing economic factors such as the latter’s access to natural resources like oil, coal, and metals.

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S Jaishankar Slams ‘Culture Of Hostility To Growth’

Reflecting on India’s economic trajectory, Jaishankar commended the achievements of the past decade while criticising past shortcomings in focusing on manufacturing and infrastructure. “Proper focus was not given to the manufacturing and infrastructure sector earlier, and the erstwhile license and permit Raj had created hostility to growth,” he remarked.

“Many states including this one (West Bengal), there had been a culture of hostility to growth while job creation has become a challenge,” he added, as per PTI.

Highlighting the renewed emphasis on economic growth, infrastructure development, and manufacturing revival, Jaishankar expressed optimism about India’s return to a high growth path. “Today, the economic growth rate is a source of hope for all. India has returned to a high growth path and emphasis has been given to building infrastructure and revival of manufacturing,” he concluded.

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