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Avoid commercially unsustainable projects, Indian foreign minister tells neighbours alluding to China's debt-trap diplomacy

Without mentioning China, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar criticised Beijing for the debt-trap diplomacy it indulges in and cautioned countries in the neighbourhood to not fall into the trap, advising them to make “informed decisions” on what Bangladesh foreign ministers said were often "aggressive...affordable proposals" from Beijing

Feb 21, 2022
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Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (Photo: MEA)

Without mentioning China, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar criticised Beijing for the debt-trap diplomacy it indulges in and cautioned countries in the neighbourhood to not fall into the trap, advising them to make “informed decisions” on what Bangladesh foreign ministers said were often "aggressive...affordable proposals" from Beijing. 

Jaishankar, who was speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday night, was responding to a question from Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen, who was seated in the audience. Jaishaknar was at a panel discussion along with counterparts from Australia, Japan and France among others, according to The Indian Express.

Appreciating Japan and India for their help, he said, “China comes forward with a basket of money and aggressive proposals, affordable proposals, and then you have a problem. What to do?” asked Momen. 

Jaishankar responded, “Look, international relations is competitive, every country will look for opportunities and see what it can do. But while doing so, it is in their own interest to be prudent about what they are getting into, to do the due diligence. We have seen countries, including in our region, being saddled with large debts.”

“We have seen projects which are commercially unsustainable. Airports where aircraft don’t come. Harbours where a ship doesn’t come. So, I think people would be justified in asking themselves — what am I getting into? And, it is obviously in the interest of the country concerned, but it is also in the interest of the international community because bad, unsustainable projects don’t end there… debt becomes equity, and that becomes something else. So there are real concerns out there. So I think it is very important that all of us make informed decisions, but of course, very competitive decisions,” he said.

(SAM)

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