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Updated April 3rd, 2024 at 16:26 IST

When Nehru Talked About 'China First' as Indian PM: Jaishankar Targets Nehru Over Kashmir

EAM was replying to the question whether India should reconcile itself to the status of POK and Indian territories occupied by China, or work to get them back.

Reported by: Apoorva Shukla
S Jaishankar
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar | Image: X/ S Jaishankar
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New Delhi: India's External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar asserted that past mistakes were responsible for the problems such as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and occupation of some parts of the Indian territory by China. Referring to India's stand when it was offered a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, he claimed there was a time when Nehru, the country's first prime minister, said “India second, China first”. 

Speaking at the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ahmedabad on Tuesday, April 2, Dr Jaishankar alleged that former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's approach was 'China First' on the issue of permanent seat in the United Nations. 

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‘There was a debate in the United Nations, should India be given a UN seat at that time? So Jawaharlal Nehru's position at that time was he said, we deserve a seat, but first we must ensure China gets a seat. There was a time when the PM of India talked about China first,” said Jaishankar asserting that the policy of the current Indian government is ‘India First’. 

When Patel Asked Nehru To Form a Policy Around China 

On the issue of China, Jaishankar said that then Home Minister Sardar Patel had warned Jawaharlal Nehru. Jaishankar said that the concerns of Sardar Patel regarding China were dismissed by Nehru calling them “unnecessary suspicion”. 

“In 1950, there was an exchange of views between Sardar Patel and Nehru. Sardar Patel had warned Jawaharlal Nehru about China. Sardar Patel said that today we are facing a situation of two fronts (Pakistan and China) which for India has never happened in our history before. Sardar Patel also said that whatever the Chinese are saying, he feels that their intent is not good and therefore let us take precautions,” said Jaishankar. 

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Jaishankar said that Patel had asked Nehru to form a policy around China to which “Nehru's position was that he was completely dissenting,” he said. "Nehru replied to Patel that you are unnecessarily suspicious of the Chinese. Nehru also said it is impossible for anybody to attack us from the Himalayas. Nehru was totally dismissive (about Chinese threat)," Jaishankar said, adding that everyone knows what happened subsequently.

Jaishankar on Nehru’s Decision to Take Kashmir Issue to UN 

Jaishankar said that Sardar Patel was aware of the mentality of the United Nations. “Even in the case of Pakistan, I think people know that Sardar Patel was opposed to our going to the United Nations..But yet we went and you know, once we went there, pressure was put on us to stop the military exercise.” 

“Today, when we talk about our boundaries, our territories, some say rewrite our boundaries. Our boundaries are still our boundaries. We should never ever doubt that. But our problem today is what happened in the past. In the last ten years, the Union government has tried to deal with many issues inherited from the past, it has been successful in finding solutions to some of them while some issues will take more time,” said the External Affairs Minister. 

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Published April 3rd, 2024 at 08:52 IST

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