External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said except Pakistan and China, India’s relationship with neighbouring countries has been much better than it has been for a long time

“India right now has very abnormal relationship with China and Pakistan,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday, adding that apart from these two nations, New Delhi has “much better” ties with other neighbours including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and China.

‘India has very challenging relationship with China’

Addressing a gathering in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, India’s foreign minister said: “We have, in many ways, a very competitive, challenging relationship with China.”

“But this (India) is the country which is today confident and capable of advancing and defending its interests,” the minister added.

‘Forces in neighbourhood creating problems’

The minister further said he won’t agree that India’s neighbourhood is not in our favour.

“If we talk about neighbours, please go to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and ask people what they think. During their deepest economic trouble, who stood by? Go to Nepal and ask them…,” Jaishankar said.

“There may be forces in the neighbourhood and ‘forces behind forces’ who create problems, there may be people in India who like to play out this problem. But, India’s relationship with neighbouring countries except Pakistan and China has been much better than it has been for a long time,” Jaishankar added.

India’s relationship with its neighbours

Jaishankar’s remarks came amid strong allegations made by the opposition parties that India’s relationship with its neighbourbing nations has taken a hit under Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government. The minister staunchly denied them.

The claims that India’s ties with neighboring countries have plunged were made after the Maldives tilted toward China late last year following the accession of Mohamed Muizzu as the President of Male.

Recently, a ‘Boycott India’ campaign has also started in Bangladesh.

While Muizzu has toughened his stand against India, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has backed New Delhi.

With China, India’s relationship soured after 2020 Galwan clashes when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) unilaterally entered the areas in East Ladakh claimed by New Delhi. However, since then, both the nations have engaged in several rounds of diplomatic and high-level military talks to resolve the standoff, but there has been no major breakthrough.

With inputs from agencies


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