India will match China’s capabilities: Jaishankar issues veiled threat as Ladakh standoff intensifies

India and China are rising powers and therefore, it is important that both reach an understanding or equilibrium,” External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum’s annual leadership summit as Indo-China standoff in Ladakh intensified on Monday, learned citing IndiaToday.

India China Standoff

Amid fresh escalation between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Pangong Tso area of eastern Ladakh, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr S Jaishankar issued a veiled threat to China on Monday. “India will match or respond to China’s capabilities in the same measure if Beijing continues to assert herself and influence areas or geographies,” EAM Jaishankar said.

Speaking at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum’s annual leadership summit, Dr Jaishankar added, “This is a practical world. If the country is going to get more powerful, you are going to see its influence in geographies in areas we have not seen before. You are going to see activities and capabilities that you have not seen before. We will see that from China, and I dare say in some areas they will see it of us. This is modus vivendi (way of life) between India and China and I actually say in my book, this is extremely consequential for both countries and actually for the rest of the world.”

During his interaction with Timothy Roemer, former US envoy to India, Jaishankar responded to a question about the impact of China’s relationship with Pakistan on the region and especially India by referring to his book, ‘The India Way: Strategies For An Uncertain World’. He said, “India and China are rising powers and therefore, it is important that both reach an understanding or equilibrium.”

“India has also been rising in this period, maybe not at the same degree or the same pace as China, but if you look at the last 30 years, clearly, India’s rise has also been one of the major global stories. So, if you have two countries, two societies of a billion people, each with a history and culture that they have, it is very important that they reach some kind of understanding or equilibrium between them,” the External Affairs Minister said on Monday.

While the minister did not specifically comment on the ongoing border stand-off with China, the underlying message was the need to peacefully co-exist without compromising on sovereignty.

“Like every other country in the world, we are very cognizant of the rise of China. We are an immediate neighbour of China, so obviously if you are a neighbour, you are directly impacted by the rise of, what I say in my book, is potential global power,” he added.

On the relationship between China and Pakistan, Jaishankar said certain aspects of their bilateral ties have been of “concern” for India. “This is something we obviously factor in our relationship with both countries,” he said.

On the India-US front, when asked about US immigration policy, Jaishankar reminded the forum of the important contribution made by Indians working in America.

Emphasising on ‘trusted talent’, the minister said, “There is a great deal of regard and trust for Indians and people of Indian origin.”

Referring to India-US ties as “win-win”, EAM Dr S Jaishankar said, “The US should recognise what is in American interest and that will be in the interest of India as well. India offers trusted talent to the world. Immigration is a win-win. People recognize the role Indian talent has played in American, global and Indian economy.”

In June, the US government had suspended the entry of certain non-immigrant visa categories like the H1B and L1 visas till December to protect American jobs hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, later in August, in response to complaints from US companies, this decision was rescinded.

Responding to a question on being a protectionist regime, Jaishankar explained that becoming “self-reliant” and increasing national capacities including those in manufacturing will not only help India but also provide immense business opportunities for America as well.

Jaishankar also made a pitch for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘vocal for local’ initiative when he spoke of the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ policy and the need to build manufacturing capacity in India.

“The policy of Atmanirbahar Bharat is a program to increase our national capacities If India is seeking to expand its capacities, it is an opportunity for American companies to invest in India… The fact that we are seen as trusted and resilient should be helpful,” he added.

“This is a great opportunity for countries to invest in defence manufacturing. It is good for your business,” External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said.

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