Malcolm Turnbull rebuff’s Tony Abbott’s view that ” …the answer to every question about China is India”

By Neeraj Nanda

Melbourne, 10 August 2021: Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today rebuffed former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s views in ‘The Australian’ (India the Sensible substitute for belligerent Beijing), just before his recent India visit as Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Special Trade envoy to India. Mr. Abbott had in the article says, ” But the answer to almost every question about China is India”. He further said, “…India is perfectly placed to substitute China in global supply chains.”

Mr. Turnbull disputed Mr. Abbott’s assertions about India on a question during a webinar today ” The Challenge of China” organized by the La Trobe Asia’s Ideas and Society program. The other speaker was former Australian PM, Kevin Rudd.

Mr. Turnbull said, ” Kevin started free-trade negotiations, I continued with them. India has got a very deep protectionist culture. Then they were no ready to sign RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) which was a very low ambition trade deal… I think we must be realistic. Different countries, different economies. We should be aiming to having much deeper and stronger relations with India. And every Prime Minister should and will do that. The Idea that you can delete China and insert India doesn’t work.”

Source- La Trobe University

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Deliberating on the subject, Mr. Turnbull said, “India has a long tradition of non-alignment and it does not want to be an American ally against China. Both countries are big and China has been successful … in terms of economic growth. These are hugely complex issues… But we should not be doing telling India… this is to line you up against China. And, that plays absolutely into the paranoia that America is getting everyone to contain it.

So, we have to move gently avoiding extravagant claims, and just get closer… These claims are not helpful.”

Source- La Trobe University.

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Neeraj Nanda

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