Foreign Minister S Jaishankar chastised Europe on Tuesday for questioning India’s Russia-Ukraine policy, reminding the Europeans that they were not trying to bend over backwards to resolve India’s issues when the rules-based order was under risk in Asia or when, as he put it, Afghanistan’s civilized society was shoved aside. He put it bluntly, where was Europe when order in Asia was threatened.
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“There are equally pressing issues in other parts of the world like Afghanistan and challenges in Asia…when rules-based order was under threat in Asia, the advice we got from Europe was to do more trade. At least we are not giving you that advice. On Afghanistan, please tell me which part of the rules-based order justifies what the world did there,” Jaishankar pointed out the fact that no country wants to witness the actual effects of the conflict, such as increasing energy prices, food inflation, and other disruptions. He stated that there will be no victor in this confrontation, reports The Times of India.
In February, Jaishankar cited NATO’s growth as one of the causes of the crisis in Ukraine, and later chastised the West for questioning India’s oil imports from Russia in the presence of UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss, despite Europe buying 15% more energy from Russia in March than in February. On Tuesday, though, the retaliation against Europe for its past apathy to Chinese expansionism was possibly more noteworthy because it came in reaction to queries from at least two European foreign ministers – from Norway and Luxembourg.
“Let’s see this in the right context. We all need to find some way of returning to diplomacy and dialogue and to do that the fighting must stop. That’s what we are trying to do,” said the minister further.
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Jaishankar was speaking at the Raisina Dialogue, which was attended by a number of European foreign ministers. He made it clear that Europe had been indifferent to security risks emerging from China’s behavior in Asia in the past, notably on the border problem with India, despite the fact that he stated that this was an area where boundaries had not been decided.
“There has been a lot of arguments from Europe saying things are happening in Europe and Asia should be worried about it because these could happen in Asia. Guess what, things have been happening in Asia for the past 10 years. Europe may not have looked at it. This could be a wakeup call for Europe not just in Europe but a wakeup call to also look at Asia. This is where boundaries have not been settled, where terrorism is still practiced and often sponsored by states… rules-based order here has been under continuous threat. It’s not that the problems are going to happen, the problems have been happening for 10 years,” said the minister, as he spoke about India and other countries looking to find the right “balance of interests.”
Jaishankar also stated that India is prepared to increase agricultural commodity exports, notably wheat, in order to compensate for the global food crisis induced by the Ukraine conflict. He did say, however, that there are restrictions in the form of WTO limits on public stocks, and that he hoped the WTO will look into it because of the current exceptional situation.
According to Jaishankar, India is now prepared to take a much more substantial stance on major global issues such as covid, climate change, and connectivity. In response to the EU’s Global Gateway policy for secure and long-term infrastructure, Jaishankar stated that India has always supported market-based, transparent, and consultative connectivity efforts. “It took us years to convince the rest of the world to come around to that view,” he said.