S Jaishankar, the Minister of External Affairs, has been giving a lot of interviews in recent times to convey the message of the Indian regime to the rest of the world. Recently, he gave an interview to Der Spiegel, the prominent German weekly.
During the interview, Jaishankar carried forward the stance that he has adopted in his earlier interviews to Western think tanks and newspapers. On Kashmir, he said that the decision to abrogate Article 370 was taken in the interests of the Kashmiri people.
When asked if India still adheres to Gandhian values, he replied, “I think we have a fundamentally different understanding of what the problem in Kashmir is. Over the past 30 years, 40,000 people have lost their lives due to violence and terrorism. If we hadn’t done something about it, the next 30 years would have been just as bad. Surely, none of us, including Gandhi, would have wished that on Kashmir.”
Der Spiegel also appeared to make an attempt to corner the MEA on the issue of landlines being cut off in the region. However, Jaishankar was undaunted and said it was an act necessitated by terrorism in the valley. The interviewer asked, “But how were people supposed to call an ambulance if they needed one?” I’m asking you: How were terrorists supposed to be stopped?” He replied.
The interviewer then asked if terrorism justified all means, the MEA, ostensibly irked, shot back, “What kind of a question is that? Terrorists have killed apple traders in the past few weeks. Grenades have been thrown at markets. People have died. Why don’t you focus on any of that?”
Jaishankar was also asked how does India see itself when the West sees India as a counterweight to China. He replied, “I find the idea of being someone else’s pawn in some “Great Game” terribly condescending. I certainly don’t plan to play the counterweight to other people. I’m in it because of my own ambitions.”
Jaishankar’s comments in this regard are important as the West considers it to be in its own interests if India positioned itself as a regional power in opposition to China. However, the current Indian regime has resolutely denied serving the West in that role. That is why the Modi-Xi meet at Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu was as much a message to the West as it was to China. Gone are the days when India would pine for the West’s approval.
The message that Jaishankar is essentially conveying is that India will unabashedly pursue its own interests during an era where the world order is undergoing a fundamental shift. It means that India will cooperate with China when it serves our interests and ally with the West when it benefits us. India will not shut the doors on China merely because the West wants it to.
Der Spiegel also attempted to corner Jaishankar on the issue of climate change. The weekly was reminded that India was doing better than Europe on that front. The interviewer asked, “Are you a player in the fight against climate change as well? India has grown to become the world’s third-largest producer of greenhouse gases.”
Jaishankar countered, “We have one of the most ambitious programs for solar energy and we help other developing countries to achieve their goals. In fact, according to the research consortium Climate Action Tracker, there are just five countries whose energy policies can be reconciled with the 2-degree goal outlined in the Paris Agreement: Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, the Philippines – and India. We are doing better than Europe.”
He added, “My answer depends on many factors, such as how quickly India can scale up alternatives such as solar, hydro or nuclear power. It is clear that coal is not our preferred choice. It’s just that it’s easy for someone from Germany to ask that question because your country has so many alternatives. We don’t.”
The most interesting remarks, perhaps, was Jaishankar’s response to the question of whether India feared Donald Trump mad permanently damage international institutions. He said, “You are in an alliance with the U.S. We are not. We are used to handling different American administrations who in the past haven’t been altogether friendly towards us. We approach America as we approach many issues in international politics: with a high degree of realism. At the end of the day, President Trump is President Trump. We Indians are pragmatic people.”
As has been evident from Jaishankar’s conduct even before this interview, India will no longer tolerate sermons from the West. Their moral platitudes, which comes from a false sense of moral superiority, will receive a fitting reply in return. Furthermore, India doesn’t share the West’s pessimism about Donald Trump. That’s understandable given the fact that while most US Presidents have actively supported the Islamic terrorist state of Pakistan against India, Donald Trump has been very charitable with the Indian point of view in comparison.
It’s also clear that the Indian regime sees the world in a significantly different manner than earlier regimes. This has been pointed out by Jaishankar himself during an earlier interview. He had said that the West needs to come to a new understanding with India.