‘No normal ties with China if…’: Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar shares what Beijing must do to improve ties


India’s External Affairs minister S Jaishankar has said that the country’s relationship with China is “challenging and abnormal”. Dr Jaishankar was speaking on Day 2 of the India Today Conclave 2023. 

The minister said, “China situation is very fragile and the situation is very challenging. You cannot violate agreements and pretend that everything is normal.”

He also stated that the only way to improve ties with China is if they stop breaching border agreements. Without that, ties cannot be normal, he said. 

“There will be no normal ties with China if border agreements are breached. You have to mutually agree on patrolling in certain areas. In the 1970s, we chose areas where we wouldn’t patrol,” he said. 

He also tore into Rahul Gandhi and said that the one-word description he uses for China is ‘harmony’, while for India it is ‘discord’. Jaishankar said that he is concerned as a citizen of India when he sees someone ‘drooling’ over China and being dismissive of India. He said that Gandhi lauds China’s manufacturing industry, which he also believes deserves praise, but “when it comes to manufacturing in India he (Rahul Gandhi) runs it down in every possible way”. 

“I want to ask why is someone undermining national morale like this,” said the minister. 

Dr Jaishankar said that Rahul Gandhi spoke of connectivity at his Cambridge speech and spoke of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – the Chinese government’s initiative to invest in over 150 countries. “The BRI goes through POK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir). It violates our national integrity and sovereignty. He doesn’t have a word to say about it?” said the minister. 

He also spoke of areas where India has fallen short and said that the country is making efforts. “This country, society is changing. We are getting global and faster,” he added. 

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