Press Trust of India

Deployment of force on LAC with China abnormal, country’s security can’t be disregarded: Jaishankar

Deployment of force on LAC with China abnormal, country’s security can’t be disregarded: Jaishankar
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Kolkata: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said that the deployment of forces at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China is “abnormal” and the security of the country should not be disregarded.

Speaking at an event organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) here, Jaishankar said India responded to the Galwan clash by counter-deployment of forces there.

“After 1962, Rajiv Gandhi went to China in 1988 in many ways that were the key step towards normalising the ties (with China)…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 said.

Since then, it has been the basis of the relationship with China, he said.

“What changed now is what happened in 2020. In 2020, the Chinese, in violation of multiple agreements, brought a large number of forces to our border and they did it at the time when we were under COVID lockdown,” he said.

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

Jaishankar said “India responded by counter deployment of forces” and for four years now, forces have been deployed ahead of the normal base positions at Galwan.

“This is a very abnormal deployment along the LAC. Given the tension between the two countries… As Indian citizens, none of us should disregard the security of the country…it is today a challenge”, he said.

There is also an economic challenge, he said, which is due to “neglect of the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors in the previous years”.

“Why is Indian business buying so much from China… Is it good to be dependent on some other source?” he asked.

Jaishankar said there is a big economic security debate in the world.

“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.

Regarding Russia, the external affairs minister said that India’s relations with Russia had been positive.

There is also an economic factor as Russia is endowed with natural resources such as oil, coal and metals of various kinds that India can obtain, Jaishankar said.

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 said.

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

At another event in the city later, the union minister said that Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir had always been an integral part of India.

“I have no doubt in mind that someone living in POK is comparing his situation with someone living in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Jaishankar said Article 370 which fuelled violence and separatism should never have been continued.

On various conflicts such as Ukraine-Russia war, Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, Israel-Iran problem and South China sea issue, he said the world is a tough place but India is performing its role adroitly and is seen with respect by other countries.

“No country today is dominant enough… This is a transition period with old order running out of gas but the new order has not come,” Jaishakar said.

The diplomat-turned-minister said countries are keeping a watch to see who will be the new world player and “lots of attention are now on us.”

“Most of the world is struggling with economic crisis. Their growth rate has fallen against this backdrop and the world sees a large economy notching up seven per cent growth even after Covid had dealt such a blow to other economies,” he said.

Asked about demographic changes in some states due to trans-border migration, he said “the basic obligation of a state is to protect its borders.”

“Leaving the borders unguarded, open for people to come is incompetence. We allowed things to happen for which the consequences are serious. When we rectify through good governance, there should not be any opposition from any side,” he commented without naming anyone.

Regarding dependence of Indian students on foreign universities, Jaishankar said, the focus should be on skills and employability to retain the flow in the country.

In a jibe at a section of the Western media and countries, he said they are yet to come out of the 300 years of berating India but “we must not be taught by countries who go to court to decide elections.”

Without naming anyone, he said people inside the country should not join the refrain of foreign critics and badmouth India outside, he said “we are a country which knows how to keep our arguments within ourselves till votes are counted. Please don’t denigrate the country outside.”

The minister said due to India’s good diplomatic relations with countries like US, during the Covid period “we could manage to fight the pandemic as we provided the US with the much-needed tablet which proved effective in fighting the virus and we could successfully prepare vaccines and PPE kits and even these were sought by other countries.”

The minister said that due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s diplomatic initiative with Russia, people stuck in Ukraine could be rescued while many Western countries could not.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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