India will not tolerate any unilateral attempts to change LAC: Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister was responding to query on whether PM Modi had raised the 2020 LAC clashes when he met Chinese President Xi Jinping; he also responded to RS queries on Palestine, Ukraine and Sri Lanka

December 07, 2022 09:07 pm | Updated December 08, 2022 08:54 am IST - NEW DELHI

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar speaks in the Rajya Sabha on December 7, 2022. Photo: Sansad TV via PTI

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar speaks in the Rajya Sabha on December 7, 2022. Photo: Sansad TV via PTI

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that it has been made clear to the Chinese diplomatically that any attempts to unilaterally change the Line of Actual Control (LAC) will not be tolerated, adding that the abnormality in relations with China has been witnessed over the past two years.

He was responding to a clarification sought by the Congress’ Pramod Tewari and Nasir Hussain on the border situation. They wished to know whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raised the issue of the June 2020 killing of 20 Indian soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan region when he met Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Indonesia last month.

Also Read | India-U.S. exercise near LAC irks China

“Diplomatically, we have been clear with the Chinese that we will not tolerate any attempt to unilaterally change the LAC... So long as they continue to seek to do that, if they have built up forces, in our minds it constitutes a serious issue, then our relation is not normal and the abnormality of that has been witnessed in the past two years. The military commanders of the two countries are talking and it should be left to them. House should be understanding of the national sensitivity of such a delicate matter,” Mr. Jaishankar said.

Mr. Jaishankar briefed the Upper House on the latest developments with respect to India’s foreign policy.

Hiked aid for Palestinians

On being questioned about India’s unclear stand on Palestine by the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Manoj Kumar Jha and the Communist Party of India (Marxist)‘s John Brittas, the Minister said that India’s position on Palestine is clear. It supports a two-State policy, he said, adding that India’s financial support for the Palestinian refugee agency has gone up during the tenure of the current government.

Responding to Mr. Brittas’ statement that India was acting under the pressure of the West after the Russia-Ukraine war, Mr. Jaishankar said that the government does not ask oil companies to buy Russian oil. Instead, they simply go for the best option available, he said.

“It depends on what the market gives us. It’s not that we buy oil from only one country. It is sensible to go for the best deal. Our concern is on stability and affordability of the energy market,” the Minister said.

Abstention in U.N. vote on SL

India’s abstinence in the United Nations’ vote on the Sri Lankan human rights issue was raised by Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Vaiko and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s M. Thambidurai. The Minister responded, saying that abstention at the UNHCR [UN High Commission for Refugees] has been a longstanding position by India, pointing out that the previous government also thought that giving aid was the most constructive way of addressing and advancing the interest of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka. “We have given support to the entire entirety of Sri Lanka, which also includes Tamil and Sinhalese community, we have not taken a communal approach. To have a neighbour in such an economic situation and not helping them would be akin to shirking responsibility,” Mr. Jaishankar said.

Regarding the Ukraine crisis, Mr. Jaishankar said, “We have encouraged dialogue and diplomacy. We have tried to soften the blow on India. It is my duty to ensure the Indian public does not pay the price for other countries’ actions.” He added that the government is doing all it can to help students whose education was affected by the war.

The Minister claimed that 2014 had been a watershed moment after which India’s foreign policy changed for the better.

Women-led development

He said that women-led development would be one of India’s priorities at the G20 summit to be held in India next year. “We will celebrate the presidency of the G20 across all Indian States, unlike anything before. Two hundred meetings in 32 different sectors in multiple locations across the country are planned,” he said.

He added that India would host the next Pravasi Bharatiya Divas from January 8-10 at Indore in Madhya Pradesh next year. The President of Guyana will be the chief guest at the event that is aimed to address the 32 million members of the Indian diaspora.

On Indian ex-servicemen being detained in Qatar, Mr. Jaishankar said that the Indian Ambassador was in touch with the Qatari government on the issue, and assured the House that it was a strong priority for India.

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