Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Wednesday said that India as an emerging global power is actively shaping international discourse and engagement and its views must be heard and taken notice of.
Participating in the Raisina Dialogue 2020, an annual event co-hosted by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi-based think tank, Jaishankar also re-emphasised that India's relations with the major powers, the US, China, and Russia - are progressing well.
“It is not the India way to be disruptive. It is not the India way to be mercantilist. It is the India way to be more of a decider and not an abstainer… India owes it to itself and to the world to be a just power,” Jaishankar said.
He further stated: “India must be the voice for the South. The India Way would be to brand India. We have this extraordinary diaspora... we are shaping international discourse. The India Way would be tested on global issues.”
Reflecting on India’s relationship with neighbouring countries, the minister said New Delhi needed to stop being a “prisoner of its past image”.
“We must get out of it. In the past, we spoke more than we delivered. Now, we deliver more than we speak. India delivers on connectivity in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka,” he said.
Addressing the ongoing crisis in the Middle East brought on by the US assassination of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad on 3 January, Jaishankar, highlighting New Delhi’s concerns, said: “US and Iran are two individualistic countries with a very recent history of dealing with each other. Our issues are related to happenings in that part of the world. This is enormously important. But at the end of the day the ball is in their court.”
He also described India’s relations with the US, China and Russia as unique and a win-win for all in an increasingly volatile global environment.
“Neither India nor China can get India-China relations wrong. Our relationship is unique. Each country has gone up in the world simultaneously. It is necessary that the two countries find equilibrium….. There is no area of activity where India and the US are not working together. Pick a sector and I will show you something substantial happening there… We underestimate the role of the street in shaping foreign policy. The street has held steady on Russia. The street has changed on America. The US was not popular in the street, but look where it is today,” Jaishankar said at the session on the theme of “The India Way: Preparing for a Century of Growth and Contest”.
“The world has common challenges. Terrorism is a common challenge. Separatism is a common challenge. Migration is a common challenge. The world has to ask itself how do they want to handle these challenges. Don't get fixated on the dots and ignore the line,” the Indian external affairs minister cautioned, saying New Delhi would like to see a world that “reflects our plurality, openness, democracy.”
More than taking power, he said, India should think in terms of wielding influence in an effective and efficient way.