Asserting that he follows the policy of the government of the day whether as a minister or as a diplomat, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Thursday said in Rajya Sabha that there is “more consistency than difference” in India’s policy towards neighbouring China.
The diplomat-turned minister was replying during the Question Hour to a query by Congress leader Ambika Soni on whether his views on China have changed after becoming a foreign minister. Follow Parliament LIVE updates
“Whether as a minister or as a diplomat, you follow the policy of the government of the day. Where our policy to China is concerned, honestly I see more consistency than difference. I think it is India’s endeavour to engage China,” Jaishankar said in the Upper House.
Jaishankar was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.
Noting that China is India’s largest neighbour, the minister said, “Between us, our ability to get along will determine the Asian century. I have always believed both as a diplomat and today as External Affairs Minister that India-China relations are critical for both countries.”
While asking a supplementary question, Soni said there are many contentious issues between India and China and all are familiar with views of the present External Affairs Minister when he was Ambassador to China.
“His personal views helped the present government of the day enormously in sorting out many contentious issues. Has he changed his point of view after becoming a minister?” she sought to know.
Replying to a query by TMC leader Shanta Chhetri on limiting stockpile of nuclear weapons by both the countries, the Minister said the issue has been discussed in the conference of disarmament.
“Any agreement that India will accede to will have to be non-discriminatory and concerning all countries with nuclear weapons,” he added.
To her another query on whether the government has initiated dialogue to enhance relations between armies of both the countries, the minister said, “We have a number of dialogues with China including the prime minister himself engaging with the President of China at an informal summit. I have a dialogue with my counterpart which takes place every year.”
At the military level, India has a “very detailed” engagement.
“We do discuss both military and strategic issues. In fact on disarmament and non-proliferation dialogue on which a question was raised…We did discuss issues like Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action issue, Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. So, there is healthy and candid discussion on these range of subjects,” he added.
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