‘India is a Prisoner of its Past Image,’ Says EAM Jaishankar

Discussing ties with China, he said it is vital for neighbours to reach an understanding of crucial issues.

2 min read
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during the Raisina Dialogue 2020 in New Delhi

In remarks that come at a time several countries have called for a greater Indian role in the Indo-Pacific, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday, 15 January, said “it is not the India way to be mercantilist.’

“India's way is not to be disruptive and it is more of a decider than an abstainer,” he added.

Addressing a gathering at the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi, Jaishankar referred to tensions between the US and Iran and said they are two individualistic countries and what finally happens will depend on the players involved.

Discussing ties with China, he said it is vital for neighbours to reach an understanding of crucial issues.

"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," Jaishankar said.

India, he said, is a “prisoner of its past image” and must get over it.

"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. I would pick on climate change. India owes it to itself and to the world to be a just power," Jaishankar said during the session titled "The India Way: Preparing for a Century of Growth and Contest".

India is firmly dealing with terrorism, he added.

“There was a time when we spoke more than what we did. It is changing now.”
S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister

On India pulling out of RCEP, he said the onus was on countries that were part of it.

"Where RCEP is concerned, we have to look at cost and benefit. We will evaluate RCEP on its economic and trade merit. We have not closed our mind to it," Jaishankar said.

He also asserted that "we are not under-delivering on India-US relationship".

“There is no area of activity where India and the US are not working together.”

Noting that the world has common challenges, he said, "Terrorism is a common challenge. Separatism is a common challenge. Migration is a common challenge. World has to ask itself how do they handle these challenges. Don't get fixated on the dots and ignore the line."

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