EAM Jaishankar: China violated pacts not to amass troops at LAC

New Delhi: External affairs minister S. Jaishankar on Tuesday hit out at China for not respecting bilateral pacts signed earlier not to amass forces on the border and not to try to change the Line of Actual Control (LAC) unilaterally. On the import of Russian oil by India, the minister, speaking to the Austrian state broadcaster TV channel in Vienna on the last day of his current three-day visit to Vienna, questioned “European hypocrisy” and asked why Europe had not cut off Russian oil and gas supplies to it the moment the Ukraine conflict broke out, adding that Europe’s actions like increasingly turning to the Middle East for oil supplies were “putting pressure on global oil markets” at a time when developing countries like India cannot pay “high prices” for fuel.

In response to a question, the minister also said there have been many instances in the past when a nation’s sovereignty had been violated and if Europe is asked about those instances, there will be a “long silence” from it. On the issue of terrorism, Mr Jaishankar openly accused Pakistan of masterminding the Mumbai 26/11 attack in 2008 and the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001.

Criticising China, the minister said it had “not observed agreements” with India inked in the past that included not amassing troops on the border and not trying to unilaterally change the LAC. “The written agreements were not observed (by China),” the EAM said, adding that satellite imagery and other records are very clear that it was China that amassed troops at the border first.

On the Ukraine conflict, the EAM made it clear that India’s view was that the conflict was not in anyone’s interests, including that of Russia. On the import of Russian oil by India, the EAM referred to continuing European imports of Russian oil, even if reduced, and asked why Europe did not altogether stop the imports the moment the Ukraine conflict broke out. “Europe can’t say it’s my principle but I will do it by my timing,” he said.

Mr Jaishankar further said if Europe was trying to cushion its population on the issue of Russian oil imports, then the same option has to be available to other nations as well.

Asked about his referring to Pakistan as the epicentre of terrorism, Mr Jaishankar said Pakistan was a country that had attacked the Indian Parliament and the city of Mumbai, including foreign tourists, and that it is also a country that sends terrorists across the border. He wondered how terror camps on Pakistani soil or territory controlled by Pakistan can operate in broad daylight with such impunity. “Can you tell me the Pakistani State does not even know what is going on?”, the EAM asked, adding that “epicentre” is a diplomatic term and that he could have used much harsher language against Pakistan. Mr Jaishankar also wondered why there was no open condemnation by the West of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, adding that India had begun sourcing Russian arms at a time when Western democracies thought that their natural partner in South Asia was a military dictatorship in Pakistan.

On reform of the UN Security Council (UNSC) and India’s aspiration for permanent membership, the EAM made it clear that “those enjoying permanent membership of it are not in a hurry to see reform”. “It (UNSC reform) will take some time, hopefully not too much time,” he said, while conceding that while it was a tough task, India would not give up.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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