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There was a time when Jawaharlal Nehru talked about ‘China first’: S Jaishankar

External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday targeted former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru over his stance on prioritising China over India while referring to India’s stand when it was offered a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). S Jaishankar claimed that there was a time when the country’s first prime minister said “India second, China first”.

Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar addresses the gathering at the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ahmedabad(PTI)

Jaishankar added that the past mistakes of the former-PM led to problems including Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and occupation of some parts of the Indian territory by China.

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Read here: China renames 30 places in Arunachal Pradesh; Jaishankar says it means nothing

While speaking at the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ahmedabad, Jaishankar said, “In 1950, (then home minister) Sardar Patel had warned the then PM Nehru about China. Patel had told Nehru that today for the first time we are facing a situation on two fronts (Pakistan and China) which India had never faced earlier. Patel also told Nehru that he does not believe what the Chinese are saying as their intentions seem different and we should take precautions.”

“Nehru’s stand was completely dissenting. He replied to Patel that you are unnecessarily suspicious of the Chinese… Also, it is impossible for anybody to attack us across the Himalayas… A few years later there was a debate about the UN, should India be given a UN seat at that time? So Nehru’s position at that time was he said, we deserve a seat, but first we must ensure China gets a seat. So today we are talking of India first. There was a time when the PM of India talked about China first,” he further said.

However, praising the Narendra Modi-led central government, the Union minister said in the last 10 years, the centre has been successful in finding solutions to the issues that were inherited from the past.

“Today when we talk about our boundaries, some say rewrite our boundaries. Our boundaries are still our boundaries, we should never ever doubt that. In the case of Kashmir we have a Parliament resolution (regarding POK) and everybody has to respect it,” Jaishankar said, adding that it was important to seek answers about our position today, but it was also important to look at the mistakes of the past.

Read here: Jaishankar on India’s permanent seat in UNSC: ‘We will definitely get it, but…’

Earlier in Rajkot, Jaishankar expressed optimism about India getting a permanent seat at the UNSC saying diligent work is essential to secure the coveted position and the international momentum is now favouring India’s bid for a permanent seat. He also called for heightened efforts in this regard.

Earlier on Monday, Jaishankar hit out at China over its claims and renaming 30 more places in Arunachal Pradesh, saying “changing names does not have any effect”. Jaishankar emphasised that “Arunachal Pradesh was, is and will always be a state of India”.

On Monday, China released a fourth list of 30 new names of various places in Arunachal Pradesh. China claims that Arunachal Pradesh is part of South Tibet and has named the state “Zangnan”.

(With inputs from agencies)

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