Bengaluru: External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar has said the world today wants a country like India to balance out the established powers. “Today, we are spreading our wings. The world actually wants a country like ours today to balance out the established powers,” Jaishankar said. He was speaking on his book ‘Why Bharat Matters’ at the Golden Jubilee Celebration of PES University in Bengaluru.
On the difference between the pre- and post-Modi era foreign policy, the EAM said the “answer is the new way of thinking.”
“For example, to take our neighbourhood and make them partners, not competitors who envy you but neighbours who benefit from you… Our neighbours today associate India with education and health… They see the new power linkages… We are recapturing our history… If you go by archaeology, in the middle of Vietnam there are Shiv temples thousand years old… Look at the gulf, till the ’60s and 70s, the Indian rupee was a legal tender in some of these countries… We let go of these connections as we had a smaller view of ourselves,” he said
The Minister said that India is today holding its ground, “whether it is a complicated issue like the conflict in Ukraine and the pressures that come with it, or whether what has been happening in the Indo-Pacific and how do we ensure that there is stability and there is order… There were pressures on us to not do the Quad. There were pressures on us to restrict our economic dealings with Russia. We stood firm against both…”
Meanwhile, Jaishankar recently reflected on India’s relationship with China, and while shedding light on historical nuances, he provided a perspective on how a more Bharat-centric approach could have shaped the nation’s view of its ties with China differently.
“If we had been more Bharat, we would have had a less rosy view of our relationship with China,” said Jaishankar while delving into India’s historical perspectives on its relationships with China. He made the remarks in an address at the launch event of his book ‘Why Bharat Matters’ in the national capital.
He asserted, “Regarding the three countries that I posited, Pakistan, China, and the US, were actually three very debated relationships in our early years.” The minister referred to historical records, citing exchanges of notes and letters between the first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and the first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on China. He emphasised the starkly differing views expressed by the two leaders, shedding light on the complexities of India’s early stance on its relationship with China.
“This is not something which is my fantasy. There is a kind of a record out there. There’s an exchange of notes, letters between Sardar Patel and Pandit Nehru on China, and they have very starkly differing views about it,” he said.