Problem with China an 'intense challenge' for India, says Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar. Twitter/ @DrSJaishankar

Vienna, Austria: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday described the problem with China as an “intense challenge” and took a dig at Pakistan and said that the problem of cross-border terrorism from Islamabad is still continuing.

While interacting with the Indian diaspora in Vienna, Jaishankar said, “Now, I spoke to you about the changes in governance. Let me also say that there have been obvious in this period, very profound changes in our national security. And a lot of that, of course, is centred around more intense challenges that we face on our northern border with China. I think most of you would be familiar with that.”

“We continue to have, of course, the problem of cross-border terrorism with Pakistan,” he added.

Indian and Chinese soldiers clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Tawang sector on 9 December. This face-off led to minor injuries to a few personnel from both sides.

PLA troops tried to transgress the LAC in the Yangtse area of the Tawang Sector and unilaterally change the status quo. The Chinese attempt was contested by Indian troops firmly and resolutely, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in a statement in both houses of Parliament after the clash.

The Galwan incident was another episode which had strained India-China’s relationship.

Talking about relations with Bangladesh, Jaishankar, in Vienna, said, “But if there is one border and one region which has dramatically improved in the last decade, it is actually eastern and northeastern India. And the reason for that is that we have actually vastly improved our relationship with Bangladesh. We have settled our land boundary agreement with that country. And really, that is an example of successful diplomacy that has directly contributed.”

Jaishankar is on his official visit to Austria, where he met Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer, and Bulgarian President Rumen Georgiev Radev.

Jaishankar tweeted, “A good meeting in Vienna with President Rumen Georgiev Radev of Bulgaria. Discussed strengthening of our cooperation in the context of Make in India, near-shoring and building resilient supply chains.”

During his visit to Vienna, S Jaishankar also held a meeting with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg. He tweeted, “Delighted to see my good friend Alexander Schallenberg in Vienna. My first diplomatic engagement was in 2023. Thank him for inviting us to join the traditional New Year’s concert in Vienna.”

In the press release, the Ministry of External Affairs noted, “This will be the first EAM-level visit from India to Austria in the last 27 years, and takes place against the backdrop of 75 years of diplomatic relations in 2023.”

During his visit to Austria, EAM Jaishankar will hold a meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi. He is also scheduled to discuss regional and global issues with the Foreign Ministers of Czech, Slovak, and Austria in the Slavkov format. He will also interact with the Indian community living in Austria.

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