Jaishankar emphasizes country’s interests as top priority for Modi government


PTI, Apr 11, 2024, 9:10 AM IST

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said Tuesday that India under Narendra Modi focused on national interest and has successfully resisted attempts to put pressure on it on issues like Russia-Ukraine war, scrapping of Article 370 and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

At a meeting with intellectuals and a press conference earlier in Bikaner in Rajasthan, the minister talked about an India that faced the world with confidence.

Answering a question, he also recalled the controversy over then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s apparent reluctance to grab an opportunity to claim a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that went to China.

Referring to what he wrote on the episode in his book ‘Why India Matters’, Jaishankar said China becoming a permanent UNSC member was an ”injustice”.

”Nothing can be above the country’s interest,” he said at the press conference.

Jaishankar said the impact of every development happening in India is today felt in the entire world.

He said the people have faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s guarantee not only in India but also outside the country. Today’s India is full of self-confidence, he added.

”Whatever we have been doing in the last 10 years, today people also see the scale of the work that is being done in India,” he said.

He said there was a time when the people used to say that having a democracy is good but progress never happens in it. But today it is a democracy that delivers.

”There was a time when people used to say that it is a good thing to have democracy but progress never happens in democracy. Everything takes time… We keep debating and decisions are not taken. So what we are showing today is democracy that delivers,” he said.

Referring to the Ukraine-Russia war, he said India had a problem of evacuating its students and the other challenge was oil. There was pressure from all western countries to not buy oil from Russia.

He said India took the decision keeping the national interest in focus and if it had not done so, then the price of petrol would have increased in the country at that time.

He said, ”Such situations will keep coming. Yesterday it was Russia and oil. We talk about Article 370 or CAA.

”I would also like to tell you that even on such issues other countries try to put pressure on us, but they are unsuccessful. That is a different matter,” he said.

The central minister said even today there are some topics, including elections where comments are made about us from abroad, but India should now deal with the world with confidence and patience, whether it is a matter of border or progress or any matter of diplomacy.

Referring to the progress made in the last 10 years in the infrastructure sectors like airports, metro, highways and universities, he said, ”Its impact is very deep in the world also. The world also wants India to progress.

”The thinking of some of the countries may differ, but if we have to go on the path towards a developed India, then I would say that first of all we have to decide based on the work of the last 10 years, how do we prepare for the next 25 years,” he said.

Jaishankar said Modi’s one guarantee is inside the country and the other is outside the country.

”Today any citizen of India, be it a labourer, a professional, a tourist, a student, goes out of India with the belief that if any disaster occurs, the Modi government will be with me at all times under any circumstances,” he said.

”I cannot tell you the value of this confidence,” he added.

At a press conference before this, the external affairs minister said earlier, India used to tolerate terrorism from across the border and that time is over now.

”I can tell you that the last 10 years have been a different time. If you have to compare, then see what was the response to Mumbai (terrorist attacks) and what is the response to Uri and Balakot?” he said.

He added, ”Where there is true patriotism, concern for the security of the country, then such people, such leaders, such government, such ideology, will never tolerate terrorism.” He said everybody knows that in this election, the country will show its faith in Prime Minister Modi’s guarantees.

”PM Modi’s guarantees have set a record in the last 10 years if you look at the schemes and policies in different sectors. We are confident that the country will support us in carrying forward these guarantees,” he said.

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