Home > News > Era of great caution and greater dependence on multilateralism is behind us: Jaishankar | India News

Era of great caution and greater dependence on multilateralism is behind us: Jaishankar | India News

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NEW DELHI: If India has to grow, it has to shed its traditional caution, step out more, be more confident, articulate its interests said foreign minister S. Jaishankar. In an interaction on Monday, Jaishankar stressed the difference in the current Indian foreign policy, which he said, has moved away from the traditional notions of non-alignment.
“If we are to grow by leveraging the international situation, we have to exploit the opportunities out there. Can’t do that by saying, I’m going to stay away from it all, and when I find it convenient I will step out. Either you’re in the game or you’re not in the game. The era of great caution, and greater dependence on multilateralism, is behind us. We have to step out more. We have to be more confident, we have to articulate our interests better. We need to take risks. Without taking risks you can’t get ahead. Those are choices we have to make.”
The foreign minister’s remarks come as both Covid and China’s border challenge pose both a crisis and an opportunity for India to reset its own economic and international compact.
Observing that the rise of China impacts its neighbours most, Jaishankar took time out to credit China for the quantum and speed of its growth. “In 1988, when Rajiv Gandhi travelled to China, both economies were roughly the same size. Today they’re almost five times our size. The fact is, China has posted a very impressive record. We should recognise that reality and give them credit. We need to reflect — while we grew, in comparison, we could have done better in a lot of areas, like manufacturing. We should have opened up sooner. They were much more aggressive about leveraging the world for their development. Their enormous growth has created a gap between us and impacted the relationship.” India, he said, was in a transition. So was China, but in a more advanced stage.
Regarding India’s sometimes contentious relations with its neighbours, Jaishankar said while India shares history and social ties with its neighbouring countries, “A lot of it is also politics at work — their politics, our politics, the interplay of politics. The answer— we need to create the structural linkages with our neighbours that can take care of the politics, but the realities of the economics and social interactions should be unimpeded.”
Answering a question of whether non-alignment is all about distance from the US, Jaishankar said, “Non alignment is a term of a particular era and a particular geopolitical landscape. There are two aspects to it. One part of it, is to be independent, which has resonances from our history and our freedom movement. That remains and is the continuity factor. The other part was legitimate in the ‘50s and ‘60s — stay out of trouble, don’t get entangled in other people’s problems.”
Today, he said, India has a contribution to make. “People turn to us for solutions. We’re no longer the bystander. We have a contribution to make. We have to weigh in on big issues — like the rules for connectivity, maritime security, terrorism and climate change.”

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