Gandhi, who is also a member of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence, asserted that India used to have great trade and cultural linkages with Pakistan, Central Asia, Europe and South-East Asia through the Grand Trunk Road. “Now, China wants to slice us off,” he said.
“Their strategy is to become the nervous system of the world. They are standardising digital connectivity through 5G and additionally trade and connectivity. That is their strategy in a few lines,” asserted Gandhi, while demanding to know India’s strategy as the meeting was called to discuss India’s global strategy.
According to sources, responding to Gandhi, Jaishankar said that he didn’t think that China would become dominant enough to be a threat to India. The Minister said that India’s strategy was to gear up for a multi-polar world as it was unlikely that the world would return to a bi-polar structure.
“We have reviewed our engagements in the neighbourhood, Southeast Asia, Gulf countries and Africa in a much more integrated, tighter and conceptual method. We will use the entire tool kit of alignments with USA, Russia and Japan to protect our interests,” Jaishankar reportedly said.
Gandhi was concerned if India had a strategy in case “the world became bipolar and not multi-polar” as Jaishankar said. “What will India do if there is a competition between USA and China? Pakistan seems to have a clearer strategy. Earlier, they were with the US. Now, they are building closer ties with China. They are getting all kinds of economic and military help from China. Both will work against the interests of India. Our strategy cannot be a laundry list of achievements,” insisted Gandhi.
Jaishankar added that Rs 4,600 crore was spent annually on the Chinese border till 2016 but was increased to Rs 11,800 crore since then. Jaishankar hinted that India needed to build up its defences against China and that the country would pick sides if it had to.
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