S Jaishankar: Flagbearer of Indian pivot

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By Maagadh

Diplomat turned politician Subrahmanyam Jaishankar is the foremost Indian diplomatic voice sought after by the international audience in the post-pandemic world.

In foreign affairs, Jaishankar is an alter ego of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While PM Modi crafts political narrative in domestic politics, swimming across the shifting currents with ease, Jaishankar has shown that he has his fingers on the pulse of the global perspective of India and clear strategy that the journey to change the biases will be long, requiring perseverance and dynamically evolving responses to fluid situations.

He’s a globetrotter. Jaishankar is seen in foreign capitals at a speed that may not be matched by any of his predecessors.

In Modi’s shadow, he knows that reiteration is an art that must be mastered to win over the audience.

At GLOBSEC 2022 Bratislava Forum in Slovakia, Jaishankar showed that he’s best at the art of reiteration, arguing the Indian case when Europe looks India with indignation for not condemning Russia for invading Ukraine and taking sides when the world is split in camps.

He gently admonished the moderator for being judgmental of India’s position.

Jaishankar had at length, at his combative best, had argued the Indian perspective on the Russia-Ukraine war at the Raisina Dialogue 2022 with the audience consisting of the foreign ministers of many countries and diplomats.

In Slovakia, he repeated again the same arguments, advising his moderator not to lecture India on how to conduct its foreign policies.

At Raisina Dialogue, Jaishankar had told his global audience that Europe has to realise that there are issues outside their continent, pointing to conflicts in Asia predating the Ukrainian crisis.

To his moderator at GLOBSEC 2022 Bratislava Forum, Jaishankar expounded further that Europe has to grow out of the mindset that their problems are of the world, and the world’s problems are not of Europe.

Since the onset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the western world led by the US has been arguing that India should be forthwith with the condemnation of Moscow, suggesting that New Delhi will need friends when China comes against India to violate its borders.

But the diplomatic memories aren’t that fragile, as the commentators reminded Europe that they were caught napping when China violated the border in Ladakh that led to violent skirmish at Galvan valley.

PM Modi during his three-nation European visit recently had placed before his hosts the Indian perspective that India calls for peaceful resolution of conflicts with dialogue as the means, reiterating that the international order of based on the United Nations’ charter that the sovereignty of any country shouldn’t be violated.

The developed world is in the habit of lecturing the developing countries on politics, economy, and human rights and so on. But they have shown that they’ve prioritised their national interests while walking out of commitments from situation in which other countries have invested their capital and resources such as Afghanistan.

The developed world was quick to condemn Indian decision to ban export of wheat when the food inflation globally went over the roof.

Jaishankar was ready with his unequivocal espousal of the Indian position in Slovakia, saying that the government decision was on account of the fact that the rich countries were profiteering from the Indian export of wheat with speculators making the windfall gains.

“The situation was same as had been with the vaccines (Covid-19) when the rich countries had all of it while the poor nations didn’t have the access,” said Jaishankar in Slovakia.

He in the same breath stressed that India continues to the needs of the poor countries for wheat, responding to their distress calls, arguing that New Delhi is committed to concerns of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and others.

Jaishankar with élan rejected the attempts of his interlocutors to categorise India as a fence-sitter, saying India is firmly seated on its ground.

In the post-pandemic world, India is well aware that the global order is on the cusp of revision. Europe has for long enjoyed positions undeserving of their contributions in maintain the world order.

Jaishankar’s father K Subhramanyam, a bureaucrat turned strategic affairs commentator, was a vocal nationalist voice, who sought India to find a firm footing in the global order at a time when New Delhi unveiled its nuclear deterrence to the world.

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