India Defends Ukraine Stance

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Jaishankar asks where the nations of the world were there to address India’s concerns when the rules-based order was under threat or where were they when the civil society in Afghanistan was thrown under the bus…reports Asian Lite News

India will engage with the world on its own terms and the country does not require anyone’s approval to do so, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar asserted on Wednesday.

“It is better to engage with the world on the basis of who we are rather than try to please the world as a pale imitation of who they are. The idea that others define us and we need approval is an era that we need to put behind us,” he said at the Raisina Dialogue.

Jaishankar also said in the next 25 years, India should be at the next stage of globalisation. India should be about capability building, he said.

Talking about India at 75, he said: “When we look at India at 75, we are not just looking at the 75 completed years, but 25 years ahead. What have we done, where have we faltered?”

He said that one difference that he can pick is that Indians have asserted to the world that they are a democracy. “There is a gut sense that democracy is the future.”

About the Ukraine crisis, the minister reiterated: “The best way forward apropos Ukraine crisis is to stop the fighting and get the dialogue going.”

On Tuesday, Jaishankar had asked where the nations of the world were there to address India’s concerns when the rules-based order was under threat or where were they when the civil society in Afghanistan was thrown under the bus.

Asked about India’s stand on the Ukraine and Russia conflict, he had said: “When the rules-based order was under challenge in Asia, the advice we got from Europe is – do more trade. At least we are not giving you that advice.”

He also stated that what happened in Afghanistan clearly stated what was the rules-based order.

Without naming China, he had also stated that Europe had been insensitive in the past to security threats emanating from Beijing’s conduct in Asia.

He also explained that Ukraine is not a precedent for China, as such events have been underway in Asia for the past decade without Europe’s attention.

“There has been a lot of arguments from Europe saying things are happening in Europe and Asia should be worried about it because these could happen in Asia. Guess what, things have been happening in Asia for the past 10 years.”

“Europe may not have looked at it. So, this is a wake-up call for Europe to start looking at Asia. This is a part of the world with unsettled boundaries, terrorism, and continuous challenges to the rules-based order. The rest of the world has to recognise that problems are not ‘going to happen’, but that they are happening,” he said.

Earlier, during an interaction, Jaishankar said the conflict in Ukraine is one of the most dominating issues at present “not only because of interests or values concerned, but also because of the consequences worldwide”.

“And there is a wide world out there where sustaining a rules-based order is often an issue.”

When asked about India’s stand on the war, he said: “When rules-based order was under challenge in Asia, the advice we got from Europe was; do more trade. At least we are not giving you that advice.”

He also stated that what happened in Afghanistan clearly stated what was the rules-based order.

“We have to find a way to return to diplomacy and to do that, the fighting must stop.”

Talking about the wider consequences of the war, the Minister said “there will be no winners out of this conflict” and added that the immediate issue is the effect on oil and food prices.

When asked about what “three things that keeps him up at night”, Jaishankar replied: “The shocks that the international order is experiencing, particularly in the past two years — the Covid 19 pandemic, Afghanistan and Ukraine, and the friction between the West and Russia, the US and China.”

He also explained that Ukraine is not a precedent for China, such events have been underway in Asia for the past decade without Europe’s attention.

“So, this is a wake-up call for Europe to start looking at Asia. This is a part of the world with unsettled boundaries, terrorism, and continuous challenges to the rules-based order. The rest of the world has to recognise that problems are not ‘going to happen’, but that they are happening.”

On India’s role in the Western Indo-Pacific, the Minister said: “We need to reclaim our history. Our ties and trade were disrupted in colonial times, but in a more globalised world, we should focus on how we aim to rebuild and interact with each other, rather than through intermediaries.”

He also said that the aim should be to recreate the Indian Ocean community, look for solutions amongst and partner with each other instead of looking to countries far away.

“The Indian and Pacific Oceans have become much more seamless. It is increasingly untenable to see them in compartmentalised terms, which is part of a larger geopolitical shift.”

Talking about India’s actions towards climate change, Jaishankar said that from New Delhi’s perspective, there are two parts to the issue – one is climate action, and the other is climate justice.

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