Must be confident, not pale imitation of others: Jaishankar

NEW DELHI: Following his strong pushback against Europe on India’s ties with Russia, foreign minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday once again justified India’s position on Ukraine, saying India’s choices and positions are best placed to advance the goal of ending the conflict and returning to the dialogue table.
In a message again aimed at the West, Jaishankar said at the Raisina Dialogue in Delhi that it’s better to engage the world by being “confident about who we are” rather than try and please the world as a “pale imitation of what they are”. His remarks are significant in the context of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Europe, where Ukraine and Russia’s actions are again likely to figure prominently in meetings.
‘We need to earn our place in the world’
He said that “the idea that others define us, somehow we need to get the approval of other quarters, I think that is an era we need to put behind us”.
He slammed the Europeans on Tuesday, while responding to queries from the foreign ministers of Luxembourg and Norway, for questioning India’s policy on Ukraine as he sought to remind them that there’s a world beyond Ukraine and that they had themselves been insensitive to India’s concerns when the “rulesbased order” was being challenged in Asia.
“We spent a lot of time yesterday (Tuesday) on Ukraine and I have tried to explain what our views are, but also explained that in our minds the best way forward is to focus on stopping the fighting, getting the talking and finding ways of moving forward. We think our choices, our positions are best placed to advance that,” he said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a session on India’s 75-year-long journey after Independence, Jaishankar said, “We should not be looking at the world with a sense of entitlement. We need to earn our place in the world and which to a certain extent, therefore, comes to the issue of how the world benefits from the growth of India. We need to demonstrate that.”
Asked about what should be the priority for the country in the next 25 years, Jaishankar said capability development in all possible areas should be the central focus.
“If I were to pick a single thing that we have done, the difference we have made to the world in the last 75 years, it is the fact that we have a democracy,” he said.
“If democracy is global today… I think, in some measure, that credit is due to India.”

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