Sunday, February 25
China disregarded agreements in eastern Ladakh clashes: EAM Jaishankar

China disregarded agreements in eastern Ladakh clashes: EAM Jaishankar

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LEH: During the eastern Ladakh clashes in 2020, the agreements that India had tried to construct with China were disregarded, and the future of this relationship will largely depend on what is the Chinese policy, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said.

The Minister also reiterated that India should deal with China on the basis of realism and asserted that the relationship should be based on the three mutual understandings- respect, sensitivity, and interest.

“We have tried to construct a relationship which is based, as I say on three mutuals, and the fact is, unless that mutuality is recognised — this relationship will find very difficult to progress.

“Today, part of our problem is exactly — because in 2020 agreements were disregarded and the mutuality on which this whole relationship is predicated has not been followed — we have the situation, we have. So, when you ask me, where will it go — I would say, lot of it will depend on what is the Chinese policy,” Jaishankar said.

Jaishankar emphasized that the development of India-China relations is guided by three mutuals of respect, sensitivity, and interest.

In an interview with a national news channel, Jaishankar reassessed India’s approach of engaging with China with realism in order to checkmate its aggressive measures, while also hitting out at the romanticism of the Nehruvian era with China.

“I argue for dealing with China from a basis of realism — that strain of realism, which I feel — strains all the way from Sardar Patel to Narendra Modi — that is the strain of realism which I feel should allow us to have a certain approach,” said Jaishankar.

The External Affairs Minister also lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his pragmatic approach on China.

“I would say that the Modi Government has been very much more and in conformity with a strain of realism, which originated from Sardar Patel,” he said.

Explaining the difference in the approach of India’s first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Patel and first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, Jaishankar highlighted the difference of opinion among the two stalwarts.

“Even when it came, for example to the UN Security Council seat, it’s not my case that we should have necessarily taken the seat, it’s a different debate, but to say that we should first let China — China’s interest should come first, it’s a very peculiar statement to make,” said Jaishankar while dealing with the approach of Nehru and Sardar Patel’s realism.

Early into Nehru’s tenure, Sino-Indian relations were characterised by what was perceived as friendship and cordiality that covered both bilateral and regional and international issues however, India got a rude awakening when China launched a war in 1962 that gave decision makers in New Delhi a reality check on their China policy.

“It takes two hands to clap. I pose the issue in this manner if you look at the last 75 plus years of our foreign policy, they have a strain of realism about China and have a strain of idealism, romanticism, non-realism. It begins right from day one, there is a sharp difference of opinion — how to respond to China between Nehru and Sardar Patel,” said Jaishankar while responding to a question on whether the two nations will bury the hatchet in 2024.

Jaishankar also dwelt on the “Chindia policy” and said, “The alternative strain which starts from Nehru’s China’s first policy — first let China take seat, then we will see for India. From China’s first policy, it ends up as Chindia policy.”

“Chindia”, an idea that projects the joint rise of China and India and was promoted by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh who called for constructive cooperation and competition between the Asian giants in 2014.

“You should ask the inventor of the term,” said Jaishankar.

The minister also spoke about the various mind games played by diplomats and politicians while dealing with other countries.

Regarding playing mind games with China, the EAM said, “I don’t think we always lost, but I would argue that at various points of times, we could have — when we talk about the past, today would be very difficult for someone to understand. The Panchsheel Agreement is another such example.”

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