Jaishankar sets agenda for India in multipolar world as bridge-builder, voice of South

United Nations: India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar set the agenda for a multipolar world where India is both a leader and a bridge-builder and the voice of the South as they claim their due on the world stage on Tuesday.

Envisioning the role for a rising India in this multipolar world, he said, “When we aspired to be a leading power, this is not for self-aggrandisement, but to take on greater responsibility and make more contributions”.

“All nations pursue the national interests. We, in India, have never seen that as being in contradiction with global good”, he said.

India has demonstrated how it sets itself apart from the other powers is how it used its capacities during the Covid through the ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative to provide vaccines to the world and endeavours like the International Solar Alliance, and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, which have gathered wide support.

He was addressing the annual high-level meeting of the General Assembly on behalf of India on the last day of the session in the absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Tracing the evolution of India’s foreign policy, he said, “From the era of non-alignment, we have now evolved to that of Vishwa Mitra, a friend to the world.

“This is reflected in our ability to engage with a broad range of nations and when necessary, harmonise interests. It is visible in the rapid growth of the Quad, a mechanism today so relevant to the Indo-Pacific (of India, the US, Japan and Australia).”

“It is equally apparent in the expansion of the BRICS grouping of independent-minded nations, or in fact, the emergence of the I2U2 (of India, Israel, the US and the UAE) combination”, he said.

“Recently, we hosted the creation of the India Middle East Europe, economic corridor” that was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden at the G20 Summit.

“This willingness to work in an open-minded manner on specific domains is now a defining characteristic of the emerging multipolar order”, he said.

Challenging the existing global power structure, Jaishankar told the General Assembly, “It is still a few nations who shape the agenda and seek to define the rules. This cannot go on indefinitely, nor will it go unchallenged. A fair, equitable and democratic order will surely emerge once we all put our minds to it”.

Jaishankar pointed to India’s efforts resulting in the admission of the African Union as a member of the G20.

He said that should be reflected in the UN through the reform of the Security Council to give that continent permanent membership.

He mentioned Chandrayyan 3 landing on the Moon as a sign of “our talent and creativity now so visibly unleashed”

(Arul Louis can be contacted at arul.l@ians.in and followed at @arulouis)