Affirming that both Beijing and New Delhi would like to see their relationship become “better and substantive”, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told sources in Washington that India will influence on merit the issues being faced by other nations with China.
Meanwhile, S Jaishankar has also declined to join President Donald Trump’s Administration that describes 5G as a national security concern, saying that for India its a telecom issue and not a political one.
Mr. Jaishankar told The Heritage Foundation think-tank in reply to a question that “our intention obviously is to progress our relations with China. We are very clear on that and we get the sense that they too would like to see the relations become better and substantive.”
He continued, “On a lot of the issues which different countries face with China, frankly, we would weigh the issues on their merit and largely take a bilateral approach.”
“We actually, essentially handle China relationship very, very bilaterally. We believe that’s frankly the best way of moving forward,” added the Indian Foreign Minister.
Mr. Jaishankar said that “our position on 5G, for example, is we don’t see 5G as a political problem. 5G for us is a telecom issue. And we will make whatever decisions we have to at the right time on the merits of that particular decision.”
“When it comes to China, for me what’s important is I have this neighbor who’s my biggest neighbor, who’s now the second-biggest economy in the world, with whom I have a long history, not always an easy history. But I would like to make sure that this relationship remains…stability for me is my bottom-line requirement,” said S Jaishankar.
Describing it as a very complicated relationship, he also informed that India has offered an enormous amount of priority and time to make ties with China.
“Because we believe that it’s not just our own two countries, but really the larger region, even the world has vested interest, has stakes in that in broadening the stability and the substance of that relationship,” said Mr. Jaishankar.
Therefore, the main attention of India actually goes into this as a result.
He further said, “How do you, I mean, as I said, the minimum manager it and ideally grow it where you can. And in recent years, we’ve seen some positive developments. We have seen trade numbers improve. We’ve seen sectors where we didn’t have market access, we have now started to get market access.”
“We have seen by and large the borders being very stable. So, our ability to engage and converse with them on a range of issues has really been, it’s sort of, it’s freer, it’s franker. Those to my mind have been good signs for us,” said Mr. Jaislankar, adding that “we were, of course, aware that there is a larger global context in which all of this is happening.”