S Jaishankar said India should be practical about how it leverages the international environment

New Delhi: India does not need the approval of any other nation for the path that it chooses to take, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said today, reaffirming New Delhi’s non-aligned foreign policy amid intense pressure from the West to take a strong stand on Russia’s Ukraine invasion.
New Delhi, said Mr Jaishankar, cannot please other nations by being a “pale imitation” of what they are.
”We have to be confident about who we are. I think it’s better to engage with the world on the basis of who we are rather than try and please the world by being a pale imitation of what they are,” the Foreign Minister said at the Raisina Dialogue, an international gathering of leaders and policy makers in New Delhi.
“The idea that others define us, that you know somewhere we need to get approval from other quarters, I think, that’s an era we need to put behind,” he stressed.
Yesterday, Mr Jaishankar took questions from European Foreign Ministers on India’s position in the Ukraine crisis, and asked where Europe was when countries in Asia – such as Afghanistan – faced a crisis. Accusing European nations of more or less throwing the Afghan civil society under the bus, Mr Jaishankar reminded European leaders that there were equally pressing issues in other parts of the world, which were also under threat.
Mr Jaishankar said India should be practical about how it leverages the international environment and correct mistakes made in the past by paying more attention to hard security.
“If I were to pick a single thing we have done, a difference that we have made to the world in the last 75 years, is a fact that we are a democracy,” he said.
Mr Jaishankar said there is a “gut sense” that democracy is the future, and a large part of this is due to the choices made by India in the past. “There was a time when in this part of the world, we were the only democracy. If democracy is global today or we see it global today, in some measure, the credit is due to India,” he said.
On where India had fallen short, Mr Jaishankar said India didn’t pay the kind of attention to its social indicators and human resources in the past. “Two, we didn’t concentrate as much on manufacturing and technology trends as we should have. Three, in terms of foreign policy, we didn’t give as much weight to hard security,” he said.

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