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Linking Ukraine Crisis to Taiwan Theatre 'Makes Me Uncomfortable': Indian FM Rebuffs Western Bloc

© REUTERS / ANDREAS GEBERTIndian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar reacts during the annual Munich Security Conference, in Munich, Germany February 19, 2022.
Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar reacts during the annual Munich Security Conference, in Munich, Germany February 19, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.02.2022
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson alleged this week that "echoes" of escalating tensions in Ukraine will be heard in Taiwan and East Asia. The US, Japan, and Australia told India at a recent "Quad" meeting in Melbourne that the "rules-based" international order applies equally to both the Indo-Pacific and Europe.
Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has said that "transposing" the tensions between Russia and Ukraine in the Donbass region to a potential escalation of hostilities over Taiwan "makes me uncomfortable".

"You can take the view that everything in the world is connected. But…different problems have different histories, context, and players. And transposing issues of one theatre to another can be misleading", Jaishankar said during a panel discussion at the Paris-based Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI, or the French Institute of International Relations) on Tuesday.

"As a country in the Indo-Pacific, for us, the problems in the Indo-Pacific are quite unique", added Jaishankar, formerly an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer.

"A point which I made, particularly to the European counterparts who were present, was that you must be very conscious of the fact that the Indo-Pacific is not Europe", underlined the Indian foreign minister, referring to his discussions with his European partners at the EU Ministerial Forum on the Indo-Pacific earlier on Tuesday.

India's chief diplomat was on an official three-day visit to France between 20 and 23 February. He arrived in Paris from Germany, where he attended the Munich Security Conference.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi during a press conference of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) foreign ministers in Melbourne, Australia, February 11, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.02.2022
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During both legs of his two-nation visit, Jaishankar has been asked about New Delhi's position on the current situation in Ukraine.

"Europe has certain boundaries. There are very serious territorial disputes in Asia…Europe has certain regional architecture, however imperfect it may be. That's not the case with Asia", Jaishankar explained at the discussion, seeking to highlight the differences between the two situations.

"I completely get it that the world is globalised and that there are common patterns", he further remarked.
The Indian foreign minister, however, added that those involved in "policy formulations" needed to be specific about issues.
Jaishankar remarked that history over the last 75 years had "taken a very different turn" in Europe than in the Asia-Pacific region.
He underlined that the reunification of Germany in 1990 and the end of the Cold War heralded the beginning of the "expansion" of the European project (the European Union was formed in 1993).
"In the case of Ukraine, a lot of it derives from post-Soviet politics, the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the dynamics between Russia and Europe and Russia and the West", stated the Indian delegate.
Jaishankar added that in the case of Asia, the emergence of the region was largely a "product of the autonomous" economic growth of Japan and other East Asian countries, as well as China and India later.
China has also rejected any "parallels" whatsoever between Ukraine and Taiwan, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin reiterating at a press briefing on Tuesday that "Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory".

"The One-China principle is a universally-recognised norm governing international relations. The Chinese people have the strong resolve, determination, and capability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity", Wang remarked.

India Calls For 'Utmost Restraint'

The remarks by the Indian foreign minister come two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin moved to recognise the primarily Russian-speaking Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republics as independent states. Both of the former Ukrainian regions had declared independence from Kiev in 2014.
Putin argued in a televised address that the Minsk Protocol, which sought to end the hostilities in the area, among the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine (comprised of Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE) had been "killed" by Kiev.
The Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics had earlier started evacuating civilians, reporting constant shelling by Ukrainian forces.
The VEB Development Bank pavilion at the Russian Investment Forum exhibition in Sochi - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.02.2022
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Meanwhile, the US has claimed that Putin's decision to recognise the two states is tantamount to an "invasion", as Washington and its NATO allies such as Great Britain mount sanctions against Russian financial institutions, individuals, as well as "prohibiting" investments in the Donbass republics.
Germany, for its part, has put on hold the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which would bring gas from Russia to Europe.
India has said that escalating tensions along the Ukraine-Russia border "undermine" peace and security in the region, urging a diplomatic path ending the crisis.

"We strongly emphasise the vital need for all sides to maintain international peace and security by exercising the utmost restraint and intensifying diplomatic efforts to ensure that a mutually amicable solution is arrived at the earliest", India's Permanent Representative to the UN T.S. Tirumurti said at a UN Security Council meeting convened after Moscow's announcement.

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