Union Minister of External Affairs (MEA) S Jaishankar while addressing businessmen and traders at Ahmedabad on Tuesday, said “India was working on alternative logistic corridors that will link the Pacific with the Atlantic Ocean. The shipping lines passing through the Suez Canal are in danger. They are in danger because of drone and missile attacks and Somalian pirate attacks. We have sent 21 Naval vessels to the region. For a large economy like us, it is not enough to have one or two connectivity corridors,” said while speaking on the topic of  “International Policy: A catalyst to Viksit Bharat”. 

‘Exploring new corridor’

Last year, we decided to make an alternative connectivity corridor that starts from the Gujarat and Maharashtra coasts and passes through UAE, Saudi Arabia, the Mediterranean Sea and Europe. This will ensure we are not too dependent on the Suez Canal. The entire world is thinking about reducing risks. So we will have to look for connectivity partners. Similarly, we are also working on another corridor that links Chabahar port (in Iran) with Russia. We are also exploring a new corridor that will open up due to the melting polar ice caps and link Valvadistock, Russia and Europe,” the minister said.

Jaishankar said towards the East, India is looking to build a highway that will link Manipur in India with Vietnam. “If we are successful in this, India will be at the centre of a corridor extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific,” he added. The minister said apart from logistic partners, India will also need to look for technology partners, investment partners and the brand itself for a global audience. “Foreign Policy can be very useful for the business community,” he added.

During his visit to Gujarat, Jaishankar also brought up the territory disputes with China, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. He criticised former Prime Minister Pandit Nehru for his diplomatic stance regarding China in 1950s, “During that time, there was a debate on the UN seat. Should India be given a UN seat at that time. Pandit Nehru’s position at that time was, that we deserve a seat, but first we must ensure that China gets it. So, today we are talking of ‘India First’ and there was a time when the Prime Minister of India thought, ‘China First’.” The Union Minister claimed that Pandit Nehru was okay with India “queuing” up for an UN seat behind China.

“Our problem today is what has happened in the past. In the last 10 years, we have tried to deal with many issues. Some of them have been more successful and some of them will take more time,” he added.