Problem with China an ‘intense challenge’ for India, says Jaishankar

S. Jaishankar, the minister of external affairs, called the issue with China a “intense challenge” and made fun of Pakistan by claiming that the issue of cross-border terrorism from Islamabad still exists. 

Jaishankar addressed the Vienna-based Indian community by saying, “Now, I spoke to you about the changes in governance. Let me also add that our national security has undergone apparent, significant changes throughout this time. Naturally, a large portion of that is focused on the more serious difficulties we encounter at our northern border with China. I imagine the majority of you are aware of 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 December 9. 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.”

EAM Jaishankar will meet with Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, during his stay in Austria. In the Slavkov format, he will also speak with the Czech, Slovak, and Austrian foreign ministers about local and international matters. He will converse with Austria’s Indian community as well.