In an oblique reference to China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), external affairs minister S Jaishankar said countries need to be transparent and respect territorial integrity while initiating and implementing international connectivity projects.
Speaking on the theme “Crisis and cooperation: Imperative in the times of pandemic” at the ministry’s Deccan Dialogue on Monday, he described Pakistan as a “particularly egregious example of state-sponsored cross-border terrorism” and said it is high time to hold a comprehensive global convention to counter international terrorism.
Talking about the challenges ahead for the world, Jaishankar said that terrorism, pandemics and climate change are “more existential aspects of globalisation”. He called for more debates on international cooperation and the opening up of countries in future.
“On connectivity, we have actually shaped the debate on the merits of transparency, market viability, environmental friendliness and respect for territorial integrity. And in many parts of the world, ranging from Africa to the Caribbean to the South Pacific, we have helped to strengthen capabilities, offered training and spread best practices,” Jaishankar said without naming China.
In the backdrop of COVID pandemic, the minister said that “India’s strength of foreign policy outlook” will only be stronger than ever before.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), earlier called One Belt One Road (OBOR), is a global infrastructure project initiated by China in 2013 to invest in nearly 70 countries and international organisations.
Of late, the project has come in for heavy criticism for pushing countries, including those in the neighbourhood, towards debt traps. India is not a part of the ambitious project, which New Delhi says, gives greater advantage to Chinese companies.
On COVID-19 and its aftermath, Jaishankar said the world was counting on India to make vaccines accessible and affordable for all. “PM Modi has committed to the UN that we will help make vaccines accessible and affordable to all. And believe me, from the regular conversations I have had with so many counterparts, the world is counting on us to do so.”