Amid an apparent lack of progress on disengagement from some friction points along LAC in Ladakh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that the issue is whether China will live up to the earlier commitments and if the relationship can be built on the basis of mutual sensitivity, mutual respect and mutual interest.
The minister, who spoke at the Qatar Economic Forum through video conference, also said that the US and Europe should step forward for India to ramp up its COVID-19 vaccine production.
Referring to Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), he said the four countries – the US, India, Japan and Australia – have come together on a common agenda which includes maritime security and connectivity. Answering queries relating to the border situation with China in Ladakh, he said the border issue has pre-existed the Quad.
“There are two big issues there right now. One of those is that the close-up deployments still continue, especially in Ladakh. The issue is whether China will live up to the commitments it has made, written commitments it has made about both countries not deploying a large arm force at the border. And the larger issue really is whether we can build this relationship on the basis of mutual sensitivity, mutual respect and mutual interest,” he said.
After having successfully disengaging in the Pangong lake area earlier this year, India and China have held military talks for disengagement from remaining friction points including Gogra heights, Hot Springs and Depsang Plains.
Answering a query, Jaishankar said a lot of the supply chain relating to vaccines originate in the US.
“A lot of it comes from Europe as well. So, I think, if the US and Europe need to step forward if India has to ramp up its own production,” he said.
“The world doesn’t have enough vaccines. The patents are one part of it, but the production is the other part. And, you know, in India we are producing the AstraZeneca vaccine. There are six other vaccines which are expected to come on stream in the coming months,” he added.
Answering a query, he said “Build Back Better World” (B3W) is a G7 initiative.
“We’ve had our own development partnerships for many years before that. We are doing projects in as many as 62 countries. And we have actually signed up something close to about 630 projects, and more than half of them, 340 have actually been done. So there is a history in India where projects and development partnerships are concerned,” he said.
“We look forward to working with G7, but as I said, we have a substantial portfolio of projects which we have already done in the last years and which I expect to see us continue to do more in the coming days,” he added.