Jaishankar Tanzania
Jaishankar is also likely to hold separate bilateral talks with his counterparts from some other SCO countries on Friday. File photo.

“Not sitting on fence, but on my ground,” Jaishankar on India’s stand on Ukraine war

External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said that India’s foreign policy is not sitting on the fence, just because it may not be agreeable to some other countries. “I am not sitting on the fence just because I don’t agree with you. It means I am sitting on my ground,” the foreign minister said, taking part in GLOBESEC Forum 2022 being held in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Taking part in the session on ‘Taking Friendship to the Next Level: Allies in the Indo-Pacific’, Jaishankar’s statement came when he was asked about New Delhi’s stance on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and whether India can afford to be sitting on the fence as an emerging world leader, a Hindustan Times report said.

‘New agenda must come’

When asked on whether India expects global help in its situation with China, Jaishankar said, “This idea that I… come in one conflict because it will help in conflict 2, that’s not how the world works. A lot of our problems in China have nothing to do with Ukraine, Russia. They are predated.”

Also read: Quad: Jaishankar discusses regional & global issues with US & Japanese counterparts

“Europe has to get out of the mindset that Europe’s problem is the world’s problem but the world’s problem is not Europe’s problem,” the foreign minister said adding, “Today linkages are being made between China and India and what’s happening in Ukraine. Come on guys, China and India happened way before Ukraine. I do not see this as a clever argument.”

“The world is changing and new players are coming; new capabilities are coming. But new agenda must also come. The world cannot be that Eurocentric as it used to be in the past,” Jaishankar said.

On being asked whether India buying Russian oil is not funding the ongoing war, Jaishankar said, “It’s only Indian money and Russian oil coming to India that is funding the war and not Russia’s gas coming to Europe? Let’s be a little even-handed.”

‘Our stand on Ukraine very clear’

Replying to a question from a journalist on India ‘ignoring’ Russia-Ukraine war, Jaishankar said India condemned Bucha killing and sought an investigation. “In terms of what is happening with the Ukraine conflict, our stand is very clear that we favour an immediate cessation of hostilities. It’s not that we have ignored it unless you call phone calls to Putin and Zelensky as ignoring something.”

Also read: India should stop trying to please global community, says Jaishankar

India does not accept the ‘construct’ that it has to side with a power axis otherwise it will automatically be considered as belonging to the other camp, Jaishankar said. “I am one-fifth of the world’s population. I am today the 5th or 6th largest economy in the world… I feel I am entitled to have my own side. I am entitled to weigh my own interests, and make my own choices… There is no country in the world which disregards its interests.”

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