Foreign Minister S Jaishankar today opposed criticism of India’s stance on Ukraine, saying Western powers were unaware of the urgent challenges facing Asia, including last year’s events in Afghanistan and the continuing pressure on the rules. -based order in the region.
In an interactive session at the Raisina Dialogue, Mr Jaishankar said the crisis in Ukraine could be a “wake-up call” for Europe to also look at what happened in Asia, saying it was not an “easy part” of the world for the past 10 years.
Asked specifically by Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt about the situation in Ukraine, Mr Jaishankar said India was calling for an urgent cessation of hostilities and a return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue.
“I think as far as the conflict in Ukraine is concerned, we have a very clear position that has been articulated. A position that emphasizes the urgent cessation of hostilities, that calls for a return to diplomacy and dialogue that emphasizes the need for sovereignty and respect for territorial integrity, ”he said.
“You talked about Ukraine. I remember, less than a year ago, what happened in Afghanistan where an entire civil society was thrown under the bus by the world,” he said.
“I’ll be honest, all of us would like to find the right balance of our beliefs and interests, of our experience, and that’s what everyone’s really trying to do. It looks different from different parts of the world. The priorities are different and it is very natural, ”he added.
The minister responded to a series of questions from his Norwegian and Luxembourg counterparts as well as by former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt about the Ukraine crisis.
“Honestly, we’ve heard a lot of arguments from Europe over the last two months saying that things are happening in Europe and Asia should be concerned about that, because it can happen in Asia,” Mr Jaishankar said.
“Things have been happening in Asia for the last 10 years. Europe may not have looked at it. So it could be a wake-up call for Europe, not just in Europe, it could be a wake-up call for Europe to look at Asia as well.” he said.
The foreign minister said it was not that problems were going to happen and that the problems were happening in Asia.
“It has not been an easy part of the world for the past decade and it is a part of the world where borders have not been established, where terrorism is still practiced that is often sponsored by states,” he said.
“This is a part of the world where the rules-based order has been under constant pressure for over a decade and I think it’s important for the rest of the world, outside of Asia, to recognize it today,” he said. Jaishankar said.
In his question, Bildt asked the foreign minister what conclusion China can draw from what is happening in Ukraine and whether there is a possibility that Beijing sees the possibility of doing things that would not otherwise be allowed.
Also for the Swedish leader’s remark that the conclusion that China can draw from the crisis in Ukraine may have major repercussions for India’s security, Jaishankar said the questions should have been asked to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi .
“I can not honestly answer that question. But I do not think international relations necessarily function by priority. People do not have to see something out there and say aha that is what I am going to do,” Mr Jaishankar replied.
“This is how bureaucracy works most of the time. But I think world affairs have a kind of a much more self-driven, self-calculated way of working,” he added.
Mr Jaishankar identified events in Afghanistan, the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis in Ukraine and major power struggles as “major shocks” that the world was witnessing and said it had global consequences.
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