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India Today Can Seek Its Own Solutions”: S Jaishankar

March 16, 2024
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New Delhi: Weighing in on the changing global perceptions of India, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said the world now sees the country as one that is able to “seek its own solutions”.

He said the country stood up for its consumer interests, energy choices and national security, stressing that “this is a different India today”.

Speaking at the ET Awards 2023 where he was honoured as the ‘Reformer of the Year’, Mr Jaishankar said, “Today when the world thinks of India, the world actually sees a country which is able to seek its own solutions, speak its own mind, which will stand up, which stood up for our consumer interests when it came to its energy choices, which stood up for its national security when it came to deploying on our northern frontiers and in staying with the Quad. So this is a different India today, and I cannot tell you how proud I am to represent it abroad.”

Mr Jaishankar noted that India, in the past few years, has left a deeper imprint on world consciousness. He said the world saw how India has tackled challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic and shipped vaccines and other life-saving drugs to 100 nations around the world under ‘Vaccine Maitri’ even as it was dealing with a public health emergency in its own backyard.

Highlighting India’s global outreach, Mr Jaishankar said, “In the last few years, there’s no question we have left a deeper imprint in the world consciousness. When they think of India today, if one is talking in terms of challenges, they see how we handled Covid, how we became through Vaccine Maitri a provider of vaccines to 100 countries across the world. They note how we take care of our citizens abroad. It could be ‘Operation Ganga’ or ‘Kaveri’ or ‘Ajay’. It could be the ‘Vande Bharat’ mission during Covid. They see today the achievements of our businesses in projects abroad, in terms of exports which have gone up. They note, of course, the enormous progress that India itself is making.”

Speaking at the event, the External Affairs Minister touched on the burgeoning Indian economy, saying, “They (the world) see today that despite the tremendous global headwinds, this is an economy that is growing at 8 per cent. The fifth-largest economy was 11th (even) a decade ago. It will be (the) third hopefully very soon.”

Mr Jaishankar said that the world, even after coming out of the pandemic, continues to face different challenges like the conflict in Ukraine, the conflict in Gaza and maritime concerns in the Red Sea.

“There are other issues, some on our borders, some beyond. So the world is not without its challenges,” he said.

Stressing that the world was “full of opportunities,” Mr Jaishankar said, “We are used to thinking of a global marketplace. There is a global workplace which is happening. There is a global tech place which is taking place. There are new opportunities to board the manufacturing bus, which we may have missed in the earlier years. But to do all that, we need leadership, we need vision, we need a collective commitment of a nation. And if we get all those right, I’m very sure that those who come after me will be able to represent the nation abroad with even more effectiveness and an even greater sense of pride than I’ve had.”

Earlier, on March 7, the EAM said India was working on major corridors both to its east and west, and once completed, these corridors will connect the Atlantic to the Pacific through Asia. Speaking at the Raisina Roundtable organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in Tokyo on March 7, Jaishankar opened up on the major corridors on which India is currently working.

“India is today working on major corridors both to its east and west. They include the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) initiative through the Arabian peninsula and the international north-south transport corridor and towards east the trilateral highway in southeast Asia and the Chennai Vladivostok route, which also has polar implications…these corridors when completed will connect the Atlantic to the Pacific through Asia,” he said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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