Trending Now

‘Neither of us wants to blow this out of proportion’: Jaishankar on India-Maldives row | Exclusive


The minister said that a team from the Maldives visited India for two days, adding: “We have an understanding.”

During an interaction about his new book, ‘Why Bharat Matters’, Jaishankar spoke about various foreign policy issues.

“Neither of us wants to blow this out of proportion,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said about the India-Maldives row in an exclusive and in-depth conversation. The minister said that a team from the Maldives visited India for two days, adding: “We have an understanding.”

During the free-wheeling interaction about his new book, ‘Why Bharat Matters’, Jaishankar spoke about various foreign policy issues, and where India stands on the international stage. The minister addressed key concerns regarding Maldives, China, Pakistan, and the possibility of Donald Trump’s return as a US president.

Speaking about the diplomatic tussle with the Maldives, Jaishankar said: “I think that over a period of time, there should not be an issue between us. I think the rest of the relationship is strong — we have many other things happening — and I hope that the focus shifts there rather than drag on as unnecessarily on this particular issue.”

The minister said India is “assessing whether we can have trained non-military personnel to fly medical evacuation aircraft (Maldives has asked India to evacuate its military personnel from the island).”

On diplomatic relations with China, the minister said while there are “serious problems” and that China is presenting a different posture on the Line of Actual Control, he has stood up to it. “I would say I’ve risen to the challenge in a military sense. The fact that we have been able to deploy so many troops around the year in very hard conditions with a posture which deters Chinese response in fact in many ways itself is an achievement.”

He added while criticising previous strategies that in the last decade, there has been a change in the border infrastructure. “In 2020, when the Chinese made a move on the LAC, we were in the middle of a Covid lockdown. I think people don’t fully appreciate that for us to move tens of thousands of troops with that rapidity to those mountains in that cold with the Covid lockdown was a phenomenal logistical operation.” Jaishankar said that to rise to the China challenge, India must manufacture and develop technologies and build infrastructure, adding that these were neglected “even in the era of reform.”

Turning to another neighbour, the minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted good relations with Pakistan from the moment he was sworn in. In the decade since, however, “the terror industry or infrastructure” has not let up on India in a significant way. According to the minister, the bottom line for India and Pakistan is the issue of terrorism.

“There’s no getting away from it,” said Jaishankar. “It’s a problem which has dogged us and one of the reasons it has dogged us for so long is we have not acknowledged its centrality in the past. What has happened since 2014 is that we say that you cannot carry on with cross-border terrorism and say ‘I’d like good relations in all other spheres’.”

On prospects of peace between India and Pakistan if Nawaz Sharif wins the Pakistan election, Jaishankar said: “Unless there is a fundamental reset in thinking on the question of cross-border terrorism, there can’t be much change just because the cast of characters (has) changed. The issue of terrorism has to be addressed.”

Moving further west, towards the United States, Jaishankar addressed concerns of Trump returning to power. He said, “Obviously it matters who is the leader of the most powerful and important country in the world,” adding, “The concerns are largely on the part of allies. Since we don’t fall in that category – we’ve always had an independent position — we won’t be in a position similar to those which many others have.”

The minister further said, “We’ve had very different presidents in the last two and a half decades: Clinton, George W Bush, Obama, Trump, Biden. We have been quite adept at responding to changes in America, at forging new relationships, at building relationships. So, I would say have confidence that both the structural and diplomatic aspects should leave us in a good position.”

This article was published on indiatoday.

Also Read: Lava launches New Smartphone with 128GB storage, 6.5-inch display!

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post: