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India must help prevent US-China conflict

NEW DELHI : Ongoing tensions in the Taiwan strait can impact Indian exports passing through the region, the domestic semiconductor industry relying on supplies from the area, and the critical undersea cable network anchored there, said Vijay Gokhale, former diplomat and foreign secretary, on Saturday.

Speaking at the Mint India Investment Summit 2024, Gokhale emphasized the importance of India using its considerable diplomatic influence to inform the global community about the potential consequences of a US-China conflict and to play a role in averting such a scenario. “India carries substantial diplomatic weight around the world,” he remarked.

With China asserting its claim over Taiwan and stepping up military activities in the region, and Taiwan enhancing its defences and international alliances in response, the situation in the region remains tense.

Gokhale advised that India should conduct thorough risk assessments across ministries and departments to understand the potential effects of a US-China clash over Taiwan.

“The relations between the US and China are witnessing some structural problems. The US did not expect China to become a real challenger so quickly. You are looking at a country that is both militarily strong and economically viable,” he said.

“I don’t see any declining China. From India, I still see a rising China and it will be so for the rest of our lifetime. The recent headwinds don’t mean that China is declining,” he added.

Additionally, Gokhale said that the United Nations’ credibility stands at its lowest in over the last seventy years, as it has failed to resolve conflicts in Ukraine and Palestine.

Looking ahead to the 2024 US elections, Gokhale anticipated they would be the most consequential in decades, drawing a line between factions that wish to preserve the existing American global order and those advocating for a more inward-looking approach.

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Published: 30 Mar 2024, 08:06 PM IST

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