Jaishankar slammed the West again for complaining about India’s position, saying they must live with it just as India lived with differences with them on issues related to Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Tough luck if it doesn’t meet your expectations,” he said.
Jaishankar said India’s interests had been well served in the past nine months and that with its “credible” position, the country has emerged as an advocate of sobriety which wants the Russia-Ukraine conflict to end and is capable of working with others.
Asked if India’s position was at odds with Quad, Jaishankar said Quad countries were never meant to take identical positions and that if Quad member-states had expectations from India, then India too had its own expectations. “I’ve a neighbour which practises terror day in and day out. Why don’t all of them signup for all the things that I am saying on the issue? Where is group unity on terrorism which, by the way, is a much older problem,” Jaishankar said.
“Quad was never envisaged as four countries having identical positions on all issues. It is an exercise of convergence where in the IndoPacific we have a lot of common interests and the ability to work together. You picked Ukraine. I could as well pick Pakistan and Afghanistan and ask them why they are not endorsing India’s position. Many of them are not,” he added.
On the recent Bali Declaration, which saw India emerging as a consensus builder, Jaishankar said it wasn’t just about getting a few paragraphs right as there were other issues as well. “When you say honest broker, the important word is honest. Your commitment and sincerity must be on display,” he said, while making the point that India would not have been able to play the role which it did in Bali if its position on Ukraine had been different.
Some LAC problems due to 1962 war loss
On criticism by the opposition that Modi had not been tough on China, he said the PM had been firm and very clear in his actions.
“The PM is somebody who does things and not just pontificates,” he said, hitting out at the opposition for not taking seriously structural and long-term challenges from China. He said some of the problems India is facing at the border with China is because of the loss in the 1962 war. “We didn’t develop border infrastructure earlier. We also were late in implementing reforms by 15 years,” he said.