Jaishankar recalls 1986 Sumdorong Chu standoff, says India-China talks will take time

Jaishankar recalls 1986 Sumdorong Chu standoff, says India-China talks will take time

In interview to The Hindu, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar spoke on LAC standoff, said India approaches China bilaterally, with the challenge of global rebalancing.


File image of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar recalled the 1986 India-China standoff at Sumdorong Chu Valley in Tawang, which took almost nine years to resolve, while speaking on why ongoing negotiations between India and China could take much longer, in an interview to The Hindu

“There are complicated issues [that] will take time… I will not be stampeded into accepting something that is less,” he said, explaining that India must view the border dispute according to Beijing’s “trend line”, not just incidents on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) this year.

Jaishankar also spoke on India’s competitiveness in South Asia, and his book The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World, which was released a month ago. He also called the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) “a good thing”, saying it reduces the number of stateless people.

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China looking at border dispute with regard to ‘third parties’

In reference to India’s growing closeness with the US, Jaishankar said, “My sense is that India approaches China more bilaterally, but with the challenge of global rebalancing. In contrast, I think China seems more affected by third parties…”

He also emphasised the importance of maintaining “peace and tranquillity” in bilateral ties. India has consistently upheld this approach for over 30 years and expects “the Chinese to abide by their commitments”, he added.

When asked how India is competing with China and other South Asia countries in terms of trade, investment, infrastructure and tourism, the foreign minister said India and South Asian countries can’t be “impervious”. India has to compete and has been doing so head-on, he said, adding that an “entitlement-driven approach to world politics” is not smart.

He later defended India’s decision to leave RCEP, saying a country must have the courage to act in its interests if it is not offered “optimal terms”.

India-US ties and refusal to meet Pramila Jayapal 

Jaishankar said India shouldn’t be worried about a transition from Donald Trump to Joe Biden administration as there are “no very sharply different policy views”.

With regard to his decision to boycott the US House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting in December 2019 because of the presence of Democratic US Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Jaishankar said: “…when others do politics, you deal with it politically”.

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