‘Difficult to understand’: S Jaishankar calls out Nehru's ‘romanticism’ on China | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

‘Difficult to understand’: S Jaishankar calls out Nehru's ‘romanticism’ on China

Jan 02, 2024 01:07 PM IST

S Jaishankar also questioned Nehru over his alleged act of giving away the security council seat to China.

New Delhi: External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday criticised first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru's "romanticism" in dealing with China during the first two decades of India after Independence. In an interview with ANI, he said while the late Congress leader dealt with China with "idealism", Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has been dealing with the communist country with "realism". He also said that there was a difference of opinion between Nehru and his deputy Sardar Patel on how to tackle Mao Zedong's China.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar presents the first copy of his book to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI)
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar presents the first copy of his book to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI)

"If you look at the last 75 years of our foreign policy, we have had a strain of realism about China and we have had a strain of romanticism, non-realism about China. It begins from day one where there is a sharp difference of opinion on how to respond to China between Nehru and Sardar Patel... The Modi government is more in conformity with the strain of realism which originated from Sardar Patel in dealing with China…I argue for dealing with China on the basis of realism that extends all the way from Sardar Patel to Narendra Modi," he said.

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He also questioned Nehru over his alleged act of giving away the security council seat to China.

"The alternative strain which starts with Nehru's China first policy, which says first let China take the security council seat... from China first policy ends up as Chindia policy," he added.

Also read: ‘Some specific things’: Jaishankar draws distinction between US, Canada charges

On being asked if India always lost to China at the mind games, S Jaishankar said: “I don't think we always lost out, but at various points of time, when we talk about the parts of the past today, it would be very difficult to understand, Panchsheel agreement is another such example....The role of confidence and assurance, the fact that we are a multiple millennia civilisation. All of this should be in our demeanor, in our standing and in the way we approach other countries.”

Referring to India's tough stance on China's aggression in eastern Ladakh, he said there hadn't been a pivot in the country's policies.

"India hasn't pivoted on China. We have tried to construct a relationship which is based on mutuals. Unless that mutuality is recognized, this relationship will find it difficult to progress. Our problems are because in 2020, agreements were disregarded. Where the relations will go -- a lot of it depends on the Chinese policy," he added.

The BJP often attributes problems plaguing India to Nehru's handling of issues in the formative years of the country. Last month, the party blamed Nehru for Jammu and Kashmir's issues.

In September, the BJP said Nehru -- a freedom fighter and late Congress stalwart -- had given away the UN Security Council's permanent seat to China on a platter.

“Today, while India, under the leadership of PM Modi is shaping the world, and the world is backing the country's bid for a permanent UNSC seat, which Nehru gave away to China on a platter...The unpatriotic deeds of the Gandhi family haunt our history, to date," the party had written on X.

India had been demanding a permanent seat with veto powers on the security council of the United Nations. Only China is against India's inclusion.

PM Modi had said last year that to make the world a better place, global systems need an overhaul in consonance with the present realities.

"Today, the United Nations Security Council is also an example of this. When the UN was established, the world was completely different from what it is today. At that time, there were 51 founding members in the UN. Today the number of countries included in the UN is around 200," he had said.

India and China's bilateral relations have deteriorated since 2020 when the latter attempted to transgress the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh. 20 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese soldiers died in a skirmish in June 2020 as the Indian Army foiled their incursion bid.

With inputs from ANI

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