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Not weakening India’s collective position is a collective responsibility: EAM Jaishankar on Rahul’s comments on China threat

Not weakening India’s collective position is a collective responsibility: EAM Jaishankar on Rahul’s comments on China threat
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Mysuru (Karnataka),: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday said it was everyone’s collective responsibility to ensure that India’s collective position is not weakened abroad.

He said there were lots of misleading narratives put out in the past three years.

During an interactive session on Foreign Policy of the Modi government organised by a forum here, Jaishankar was asked about Rahul Gandhi’s statement that India did not understand the threat from China. He was also asked whether such domestic criticism affected India’s ability to negotiate in international fora.

“I would have offered to take classes on China from Rahul Gandhi but I discovered that he was taking classes on China from the Chinese ambassador,” Jaishankar claimed.

“On certain issues we have a collective responsibility to at least behave in a way in which we do not weaken our collective position abroad,” the External Affairs Minister said. “What we have seen in the past three years on China is that there are often very misleading narratives put; they are misrepresentations.”

In this context he also referred to issues raised about the bridge built by China on Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh, and gave an example. “It was made out (by the opposition) as though ‘you’ve lost territory and they’re building a bridge’, but the reality was that in that particular area, first the Chinese came in 1959 and then they occupied it in 1962. But that’s not the way it was put across.”

He added, “This happened in the case of the some of the so-called model villages (built by China) as well; they were built in areas which we lost in 1962 or before 1962.”

Denouncing political colouring on such issues, he said whatever happened in the past was a collective failure or responsibility.

“Whatever happened has happened. It’s our collective, I would say, failure or responsibility. I do not attribute necessarily a political colouring to it. What I would like to see is actually a serious China conversation,” the diplomat-turned-minister said.

He added that he was prepared to accept that there were differences of view points on that issue, which should not be reduced to a “slanging match”.

Jaishankar said unfortunately foreign policy had also become an arena of politics.

To a question on his strong comments against Pakistan during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, he attributed his outburst to Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari having spoken about “everything else other than the SCO”.

“If you look at what his public utterances were outside in the press conference and other interviews, he hasn’t spoken about the SCO at all. He has spoken about everything else pertaining to India,” the minister said.

Zardari spoke about politics, passed value judgments on Kashmir, the G20 and the BBC documentary, he added.

“As I said, other than the SCO he has spoken about everything else. So, what do I do as a host? If I have a guest who is a good guest, I am a good host,” Jaishankar said.

The EAM had said in Goa during the SCO meeting that “victims of terrorism do not sit together with perpetrators of terrorism to discuss terror” in a rebuttal to Zardari’s remarks.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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