External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday that India intends to be a stabilising force, and not a disruptive power internationally. He made the remark at the Raisina Dialogue 2020 in New Delhi. “There are already enough forces of disruption in the world,” Jaishankar said. “Somebody needs to make up a bit.”
“It is also not the Indian way to be self-centered, to be mercantilist,” Jaishankar said. “Therefore it’s important to be global, law abiding, consultative.”
Jaishankar said that India has a huge diaspora, is a pool of global talent, and is a pluralistic and democratic society. He said India is increasingly shaping the debates and discussions on the global scale. “The India way will be tested against global issues like connectivity, climate change, counterterrorism...” he added.
The external affairs minister disagreed that India speaks more and does less, especially based on its record in the last five years. He said India has at least 142 connectivity projects around the world, of which 53 have been completed. “There was a time when we probably spoke more and did less; today we are actually doing more than we speak,” Jaishankar said. He however, conceded that India is a prisoner of its past image, which has to change.
Jaishankar said that India has built roads and railways in war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. “We have done hydel projects in Sudan, in Rwanda, we have sugar factories in Ethiopia,” he said.
On the tensions between Iran and the United States, following the US’ assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, Jaishankar refused to take a definite position, saying that the “ball is in their court”. “What happens finally will depend on the players involved,” he added.
The external affairs minister, speaking about China, said that it is very important for neighbouring countries to reach an understanding on crucial matters. “Neither India nor China can get India-China relations wrong,” Jaishankar said. “Each country has gone up in the world simultaneously. It is necessary that the two countries find equilibrium.”
‘Russia believes India should be a permanent UNSC member’
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the country believes India should be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Currently, there are five permanent members – the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom.
“We are convinced that the overriding trend of the global development is the objective process of the formation of new centres of economic might, financial power and political influence,” Lavrov said. “India is obviously one of them. It is important to make sure that no serious matter of global dimensions is considered without these new centres of influence.”
Lavrov said that as President Vladimir Putin remarked, Russia believes that the equitable democratic world order should not be based on “balance of brutal force”, but “built as a concert of interests, models of development, cultures, traditions”. He said that such structures are being organised in international relations in the form of BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which India has joined.
“The creation of G-20 was the recognition that G-7 cannot decide any issue of any significance,” Lavrov said. He said that G-20 is a “workable organisation”, especially for developing countries.
The Russian foreign minister added that the only deficiency of the UN Security Council is the under-representation of the developing countries. “And we have repeatedly reiterated our position that India and Brazil absolutely deserve to be on the Council,” he said. “Our position is that the purpose of the reform is to make sure that the developing countries have a better treatment in the central organ of the United Nations.”
Lavrov accused the developed countries of forcing upon other countries their own egoistic ideas. Lavrov said global problems like terrorism, food security, water security, the danger of weaponising cyberspace are problems that need to be addressed.
Over 100 countries are taking part in the fifth edition of the Raisina Dialogue, the Hindustan Times reported on Tuesday. The event began on Tuesday, and has more than 700 international participants, including 80 from African countries. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will also speak at the event.