Taking a veiled dig at those who question New Delhi’s independent foreign policy, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr S Jaishankar on Friday said that India does not need to join any axis, adding that the country is “entitled to make its own choices which will be a balance of its values and interests.”
He made the remarks when asked about the United States-led axis and China’s emergence as another potential axis in world during the GLOBSEC 2022 Bratislava Forum.
“I don’t think we’re sitting on fence, just because I don’t agree with you. It means I’m sitting on my ground… What are big challenges of world? Climate change, terrorism, security etc. You take any or all challenges some part of the answer comes from India,” he said.
Speaking about the Russia-Ukraine war, Jaishankar said that European nations need to “change their mindset” and stop thinking that Europe’s problems are world’s problems, but world’s problems aren’t its issues”.
He also spoke about India’s relationship with China following the Galwan Valley clash in which 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives, and said that the two nations are “perfectly capable” of managing their issues.
“Today linkages being made between China and India and what’s happening in Ukraine. Come on guys, China and India happened way before Ukraine. It’s not a clever argument,” he said.
“If I get a global understanding and support it will be of help. But this idea that I do a transaction, I come in one conflict, because it will help in another conflict, that is not how world works,” he added.
‘We’re largely out of COVID with strong sense of economic recovery’
During the forum, he also said that India has “built a social welfare society at a speed and a scale that the world has not seen” under the Modi government in the last eight years.
“We are largely out of COVID, but it never quite goes away. But we are out of COVID with a strong sense of economic recovery. We handled it very prudently, economically,” he said.
“There is a lot of optimism about rebuilding… leapfrogging in many areas, particularly in digital rebuilding. We handled it very prudently in terms of the financial responses. We did not blow the bank in responding. We intervened where we had to,” he added.