No one country can influence India’s foreign policy, external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, said on Sunday, adding that New Delhi’s relations with one country could not be held hostage because of its other diplomatic relations.
Swaraj, who met her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi on Sunday evening said China did not bring up the issue of India’s growing closeness to the US. Wang also did not mention the joint US-India statement, released during President Barack Obama’s January visit to India, which talked about the South China Sea and the freedom of navigation in the region.
China had closely followed Obama’s visit to India. While officially the government had played down the impact of the visit on India-China relations, a number of commentaries in the country’s state-controlled media had warned India about the consequences of getting too close to Washington.
“There was no mention of it (the visit or the joint statement).. Our foreign policy is independent. Our relation with America is independent of China and our relation with China is independent of America,” Swaraj told Indian journalists after her meeting with Wang.
“No one can influence our foreign policy,’ Swaraj said.
Earlier, Wang took a similar line about Indo-US relations.
“Both China and India follow independent foreign policies. We give importance to neighbours. We believe India-US and India-China are two separate bilateral relations. We would like India to develop such relations,” Wang told Indian journalists after her meeting with Swaraj.
“India and China are two important forces of multi-polarity in the world,” he said.
Wang added that Sino-India relations were based on mutually beneficial cooperation.
Wang said he discussed specific measures with Swaraj about deepening the relationship like high-level exchanges.
“There is a good momentum in the relationship. We are ready to act with India to advance this relationship,” he said, adding that he was optimistic about the future.