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India and China need to find an equilibrium: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar

India-China ties have plummeted after a series of attempts by Chinese troops to intrude into Indian territory since May (REUTERS)Premium
India-China ties have plummeted after a series of attempts by Chinese troops to intrude into Indian territory since May (REUTERS)

The minister’s comments came on a day India and China accused each other of violating a consensus reached to disengage their troops along the border and reduce tensions after a violent clash on 15 June left 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers dead

NEW DELHI: Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar on Monday said that two countries with the size and populations of India and China need to find an equilibrium or reach an understanding to establish a steady relationship.

The minister’s comments came on a day India and China accused each other of violating a consensus reached to disengage their troops along the border and reduce tensions after a violent clash on 15 June left 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers dead.

Speaking at an event organized by the US-based US-India Strategic Partnership Forum through video link Jaishankar noted that China’s rise was one of key global developments of the world. India too was emerging as a power to reckon with, he noted pointing to the similarities in population size and other factors.

“It is very important that they (India and China) reach some understanding or equilibrium," he said.

India-China ties have plummeted after a series of attempts by Chinese troops to intrude into Indian territory since May. Many rounds of talks at the military and diplomatic levels have not been able to resolve the problem. While India wants Chinese troops to withdraw from all areas it has intruded into, China has pulled back troops from two areas while at two others, it has not. The fresh intrusion over the weekend took place in an area that was not disputed, say former military officials, which shows that the Chinese actions were “very provocative."

Speaking the event, Jaishankar said one of the lessons that the covid-19 pandemic has driven home is the importance of resilient and trusted supply chains, Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar said on Monday.

“We need in the world today partners who can be dependent on even in difficulties," Jaishankar told an event organized by the US-based US-India Strategic Partnership Forum.

The allusion was to China shutting down production abruptly in the wake of the covid-19 crisis at the end of last year which sent economies across the world dependent on them into a tailspin. Countries then had to shutdown their own production systems in the wake of lockdowns imposed by their governments to arrest the spread of the covid-19 pandemic.

Addressing concerns and expressed by US industry over whether India ws turning inward after announcing measures to make its economy more self reliant following the covid-19 pandemic, Jaishankar said India was looking to build up its national capacities. Strengthening manufacturing capacity was at the heart of the new programme for making India self reliant, he said.

Referring to a list of 101 weapons systems that India is looking to make entirely at home and not import in the coming years, the minister said that given India’s manufacturing capability and being counted as one of the top five economies of the world, these weapons systems, that included submarines, should be made in India.

Far from shying away, the minister said: "I actually think great opportunity to invest in defence manufacturing…Its good for your business."

“I would actually tell American business that if India is seeking to expand its capacity, there is a whole lot of business opportunities that have opened up for you," he said pointing to the much more liberal rules of ownership for foreign companies announced by the government.

“We are much more interested in global value chains passing through India, using Indian production capacities as part of the chain," he added.

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