Will engage based on who we are: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar

India should engage the world on the basis of its confidence in its identity rather than trying to please the global community as their ‘pale imitation’, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday amid Western pressure growing pressure on the country to oppose the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Reflecting India’s foreign policy approach, the foreign minister said during the Raisina dialogue that the country must put aside the idea that it needs the approval of other countries.

“We have to be confident in who we are. I think it’s better to engage the world based on who we are rather than trying to please the world as a pale imitation of what it is. This idea that other people define us, one way or another, we have to get approval from other quarters, I think it’s an era that we have to put behind us,” he said.

Speaking during a session on India’s 75-year journey after independence and the way forward, Jaishankar said, “We shouldn’t look at the world with a sense of entitlement. We have to earn our place in the world and who has to To some extent, so it’s about how the world benefits from India’s growth. We have to demonstrate it.

Asked what the country’s priority should be in 25 years, Jaishankar said capacity development in all possible fields should be the central objective.

Referring to the Ukrainian crisis, the foreign minister said the best way to deal with it would be to focus on “stopping fighting and talking” and added that India’s position on the conflict was best placed to advance such an approach.

Jaishankar hit back on Tuesday at criticism of India’s stance on Russia’s actions in Ukraine, saying Western powers have been oblivious to pressing challenges in Asia, including last year’s developments in Afghanistan.

“We spent a lot of time yesterday on Ukraine and I tried to explain what our views are, but I also explained that in our minds the best way forward is to focus on stopping the fighting, talking and finding ways to move forward. We are considering our choices, our positions are best placed to move this forward,” he said.

India has yet to publicly condemn the Russian attack on Ukraine and called for resolving the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy.

In his address, Jaishankar also highlighted how the country has played a key role in promoting democracy in South Asia.

“If I had to pick one thing that we’ve done, the difference we’ve made to the world over the past 75 years, it’s the fact that we have a democracy,” he said.

Talking about the areas where India has failed to respond, the foreign minister listed a lack of adequate attention to human resources and manufacturing and mentioned that little attention was probably given to hard security in the framework of foreign policy.

He hopes India will be “deeply more international” in terms of commitments, responsibilities and roles over the next 25 years.

“There was a time in this part of the world where we were pretty much the only democracy. If democracy is global today, we see it’s global today, I think, to some extent, the credit goes to India,” said Jaishankar. .

He noted that it is also fair to come back to the shortcomings of the country.

“First, it is clear that we have not given our social indicators, our human resources, the kind of attention that we should have had. Second, we have not focused on manufacturing and technological forces as we should have done. And thirdly, in terms of foreign policy, probably, in the mix of various elements, we didn’t give as much importance, as much weight to material security as we should have,” he said. -he declares.

At the same time, he said it was not a “polemical critique” of the past.

Other countries that were in similar situations did just that and it is one of the reasons why some of them are ahead today, he noted.

“It’s something we’re trying to do now. Those are the areas we’re trying to fix right now. It’s not that it can’t be done. It’s being done as we speak,” he added.

Speaking about India’s successful democratic journey, Jaishankar said the choices made by India have had greater influence globally and have contributed to the spread of democracy in South Asia.

“We would like to see more prosperity in South Asia. If India has been in any way an example of democracy or a promoter of democracy in South Asia, now we would like to be part of a bigger rising tide so that the rest of South Asia is growing with us,” Jaishankar said.

The Foreign Minister said that India must develop its stakes in its future.

“There is a lot of talk about reliable and resilient supply chains and people talk about transparency and reliable technology. If India could do more and show the rest of the world that the world benefits from India being bigger” , said Jaishankar.

“So we have to develop stakes for our future… I think it’s happening partly for strategic reasons, but we have to do more, especially for economic reasons,” he added.

Asked about the shortage of wheat following the war in Ukraine, and how India would like to contribute to solving the problem, he said: “We have significant wheat production. We would obviously go to global markets and try to make up for the shortfalls as much as we can. He (Egypt) is one of the countries we are talking to.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Shirlene J. Manley