China should be in no doubt about India’s position on the bilateral relationship between the two countries and what is languishing it, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said.
“I don’t think the Chinese have any doubt on where we stand on our relationship and what’s not gone right with it. I’ve been meeting my counterpart Wang Yi a number of times. As you would have experienced, I speak fairly clearly, reasonably understandably (and) there is no lack of clarity so if they want to hear it, I am sure they would have heard it,” Jaishankar said.
External Affairs Minister has also said that India and China are going through a bad phase in their relationship because of Beijing’s actions and violation of agreements between the two neighbouring nations and for which it still doesn’t have a “credible explanation”.
“We are neighbours and going through a particularly bad patch of our relationship because they have taken a set of actions and violation of agreements for which they still don’t have a credible explanation and that indicates some rethink about where they want to take our relationship, but that’s for them to answer,” he added referring to the Eastern Ladakh border clash with China.
Referring to other relationships, Jaishankar said the US is today a much more flexible partner, much more open to ideas, suggestions and working arrangements than in the past.
“I have been dealing with the US for close to 40 years now. US today is a much more flexible partner, much more open to ideas, suggestions, working arrangements, than in the past,” Jaishankar said in response to a query during the panel discussion.
“There is no question that the US has strategically contracted for some time. Relatively and absolutely, American power and American influence are not what they used to be. It is also clear China has been expanding, but the nature of China, the manner of its growing influence is very different from the US, and we don’t have a situation where China necessarily replaces the others – US,” he said.
The session was also attended by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Referring to Quad, which is a grouping of Australia, India, Japan and the US, Jaishankar said, “It is a good example of some countries coming together on a certain set of concerns or issues of interest.”
“This reflects a very different kind of world we are moving into… the real transition after 1982 is now occurring,” he added.
Answering a question about how the world is changing, he said it is not unipolar and not bipolar either.
“It is certainly not unipolar and it is not really bipolar either. There are many more players. A lot of what we are doing in terms of repositioning, working with countries, (it) is multipolar work,” he said.
“In a sense, it is partly a hedging strategy, partly autonomous partnership, often very issue-based (as) we work with different countries on different sets of issues,” the minister said.
(With inputs from PTI)