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6 Jun, 2019 15:25

India to stay out of US-China spat, but every ‘clash has opportunities’ – FM

India to stay out of US-China spat, but every ‘clash has opportunities’ – FM

Any economic fallout from the ongoing trade war between the US and China is an “opportunity” for India, its top diplomat has said. However, when it comes to picking sides, New Delhi is resolutely staying out of it.

Speaking at his first public appearance since his appointment as External Affairs Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said the escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington present a great chance for India to benefit economically.

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“In every clash, there is an opportunity. There are risks also” Jaishankar said, adding that his role would be to “manage” any potential risks while ensuring the opportunities were maximized. He noted that this self-interest was not unique and still made India a force for global cooperation.

Looking out for yourself is not incompatible with doing global good or supporting a global order

However, if it ever came to choosing between Beijing and Washington, Jaishankar was adamant India would stay out of it. Recalling an exchange on the issue at an event, at which ex-CIA director David Petraeus quizzed him on allegiances; Jaishankar replied: “Sure, we have taken a side. I have taken my side.” He then told the audience that, since independence, India was used to responding to global crises.

We have always navigated the world with that sense of getting optimal outcome out of difficult landscapes.

As the trade war between the US and China rages on, experts have warned that both countries could do more harm than good to themselves, with increased costs and businesses looking to move elsewhere. A recent survey of US companies with operations in China found that 40 percent of them were looking to move their operations elsewhere. However, only 6 percent had said they are looking to move back to the US.

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India is already vying to benefit from the unfolding exodus. In April, the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF), a US-based advocacy group, said as many as 200 US firms with manufacturing bases in China had been in contact to discuss a potential move to India.

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