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Saturday, February 4, 2023

India’s UN vote based on own interests: Jaishankar

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 India’s interests made the country vote the way it did in the United Nations on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said on Saturday.

“I will be driven on this by my interest, my experience, my thinking and I will not allow other people’s mind games to take me off my course,” he said replying to a query on New Delhi’s decision to abstain from the UN in his interaction with the PES University students.

The decision was taken keeping in view India’s interests based on its strategic view of the world and other factors including its experiences with Russia.”We have taken a certain position in regard to this (Russia-Ukraine) conflict.

“Why did we take that position? It is not that we are oblivious to our interest. On the contrary, our interests required us to take that position because the fact is we have our own history; we have our own experiences with Russia.

“We have our strategic view of the world. What does a country A close to country B, mean to us. If we move to country C what does it mean to us? So strategic assessment and logic is ours,” he said.

“The experience and history are ours and the interests are ours. Ultimately I have to also calculate. What is the gain, what is the loss? What is the risk and benefit I would have? So it is the combination of those calculations – the metrics that is made out of that. That is what has led me to take a certain position. And that is what has led others to come up with the arguments to try and influence my position,” he added.

Replying to the other part of the question where the student asked about India’s stand if China invades Taiwan, Jaishankar said he really does not see any connection between the Russia-Ukraine war and the China-Taiwan tensions.

“The link is being established to influence India as though the country’s interests are endangered in some form, he stated.”Our boundary issues with China started in the 1950s. So. If something has been going on for 70 years, and something happened five months ago, please tell how these two developments influence each other?

“At the moment what is happening is natural, given the polarised global situation.

“Different countries and parties try to influence us to take positions. To do that they advance arguments which they hope will appeal to us. So, some way they will stretch it and try to bring it around us as though our interests are endangered in some form,” he said.

Replying to a query on a permanent seat for India in the UN Security Council, Jaishankar said the world was not generous but that does not mean the dream should not be chased.

Asked if the US recession will affect employment of graduates in India, the former IFS officer said: “The economic direction is not as clear and strong and negative as your question may suggest…The global economy in the short-term is going to be volatile. Whether this volatility will translate into recession, we will have to wait and see.”

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