◆Shouldn't view us through US lens. That'll be a great disservice; Foreign Minister S Jaishankar
【New Delhi】Look, India is China's largest neighbour, one with a matching civilisational history. Our ties are fundamentally bilateral in character. The relationship is not only hugely consequential for both nations, but for the world. We must therefore understand each other's concerns, interests and aspirations accurately. Now, China may have its own issues and problems with the US. But to view us through an American lens would be a serious misreading of India. And clearly do the relationship great disservice.
Despite his hectic schedule, external affairs minister S Jaishankar put long flights and airport layovers to good use to finish his book, The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World. In an interview to Indrani Bagchi from The Times of India, he talks about India's role in a changing world.
Q: And where does the US feature in our calculations?
A: As I see it, there are two trends at play. One, that the US is engaging the world on very different terms. There is the Trump phenomenon but some signs were visible even under Obama. Two, there has been a sustained American interest in strengthening ties with India. Both sides, each in their own way, are coming to terms with growing multi-polarity. This is an era of convergences and the new vehicles include plurilateral mechanisms.
Q: We first met in Japan in 1999. That relationship has completely transformed and you have been part of that too. Where does Japan fit into this multipolar world?
A: There is certainly a sea change there. Japan is a strategic factor that can lead to the emergence of a multipolar Asia and a greater role for middle powers.
Q: You have spoken of greater multipolarity but less multilateralism. Will India be a different kind of power?
A: Absolutely. Some of that is our post-colonial history; some our inherent approach to the world. India must be identified with the quest for a more just global order. That means respect for international law and rules. And contributing to global good, whether in disaster situations, peacekeeping or in responding to pandemics. Development partnerships become particularly important in that context, as does our commitment to better delivery. This is not just idealism, it is enlightened self-interest at work.
China shouldn't view us through US lens. That would be a great disservice, says S Jaishankar
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