On Flawed Perspective Of World’s Problems
Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar recently sent a strong message to Europe, saying that Europe’s problems should not be considered as global problems. Speaking at the Globsec 2022 forum in Slovakia in the first week of June, he clarified India’s official position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, stating: “Europe has to grow out of the mindset that Europe’s problems are the world’s problems, but the world’s problems are not Europe’s problems.”
The visiting Indian minister explained that it would not be fair to compare the Russian attack on Ukraine with the Sino-Indian conflict. Dr Jaishankar told the audience: “There is a linkage today which is being made. A linkage between China and India and what’s happening in Ukraine. So, come on guys, I mean China and India happened way before anything happened in Ukraine. So, the Chinese don’t need a precedent somewhere else in the world on how to engage us or not engage us or be difficult with us or not be difficult with us. I don’t see this frankly as a very clever argument, a very self-serving one.”
On the Sino-Indian conflict, the Indian External Affairs Minister said that the two Asian nations share a very complex relationship. However, Indians are fully prepared to handle it in an efficient manner. “If I get global understanding and support, obviously it is of help to me. But this idea that I do a transaction, that I come in one conflict because it will help me in conflict two, that’s not how the world works. So, a lot of our problems with China have nothing to do with Ukraine, have nothing to do with Russia, they are pre-dated,” he stressed. Dr Jaishankar added: “And if we are getting into who is silent on what issue at what point of time, I could point to a whole lot of issues on which, as I said, Europe has held its peace.”
According to the External Affairs Minister, India’s position on Ukraine has been “mischaracterised“. He recalled that New Delhi had strongly condemned the genocide in the Ukrainian city of Bucha and demanded an impartial investigation into the matter. He fired a salvo at Europe, stating that the “world cannot be that Eurocentric that it used to be in the past. If I were to take Europe collectively, which has been singularly silent on many things which were happening, for example in Asia, you could ask why would anybody in Asia trust Europe on anything at all?”
It may be noted that Dr Jaishankar has been seen sharply criticising Europe over the last few months. During his meeting with some European officials in New Delhi in April 2022, he had raised the issue of Afghanistan and China, saying that the Russia-Ukraine conflict was a “wake-up call” for Europe to look at these instances where the problems were happening. He had also defended India’s decision to purchase oil from Russia, saying that his country’s total purchases for the month would be “less than what Europe does in an afternoon”.
Meanwhile, the minister rejected suggestions that India is a “fence-sitter” on global issues, stressing that he did not believe that India would have to choose between the two axes represented by the US-Europe and China-Russia. “Look, they are not exclusionary, but we are a Democracy. We are a Market Economy. We are a Pluralistic Society. We have laws and contracts, we have positions on International Law and I think that should give you a fair part of the answer,” insisted Dr Jaishankar.
A country, especially the Government, cannot be run only with emotion, especially as Global Geopolitics is in a very sensitive place at the moment. As a Spokesperson for the ruling party and also as a Minister, it is important for a person, like Dr Jaishankar, to choose his expression, carefully. Proper choice of words is a very important quality for a diplomat. The Indian Minister recently accused Europe of Double Standard, adroitly, without mentioning the word.
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