Indo-Pacific central to world, today India has more capabilities, more influence: Jaishankar

Munich [Germany], February 19 (ANI): Underlining the centrality of Indo-Pacific, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said today’s world is "far more interdependent, inter-penetrative and paradoxical in nature", one where a country has to do business with another despite a major conflict of interest.

Speaking at a panel discussion here, he said India’s capabilities and influence has grown over the years.

The minister said one of the most welcome developments in the last two years has been, a stronger European commitment to the Indo-Pacific.

"EU strategy of Indo-Pacific is something that we welcome. I think Indo-Pacific is so central to the world whether it is the Quad or whether it is the growing interest of the EU in the region," the minister said during a panel discussion on ‘Earth and Water: Intersecting Politics of Eurasia and the Indo-Pacific’.

He also talked of the situation created by COVID-19 and said there was a need to do more to de-risk the world and create multiple sources of production in case things go wrong.

"It can go wrong due to a pandemic. It can go wrong due to policy choices made by a country," he said.

Answering a question about how the new India sees the world around it and how it has changed in the past 75 years, Jaishankar said it is a "very different" world that calls for a different approach.

"We are today in a far more globalized world -- that means a far more interdependent world and a far more inter-penetrative world. You have competitors in your national space and society. You do business with people with whom you have a major conflict of interest. To my mind, it is a very paradoxical world, not as clean as it used to be in the 70s and 80s," he said.

Arguing against the use of references of the past to describe today’s world, the minister said, "I think that they are very misplaced. They dumb down the actual and real challenges. A lot of the challenges are not known as challenges of nation A versus nation B and bloc A versus bloc B."On changes that have taken place in India over the past 75 years, Jaishankar said democracy in India has struck much deeper roots.

"You have today a voice of India, the leadership of India, and the presence of India which is more representative. These 75 years you are also seeing the evolution of India. Side by side you are seeing an India with more capabilities and more influence. But, as I tell people in India, more expectation of the world has of us," he said.

Other panellists who spoke during the debate were Estonia Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets, US Senator Chris Coons, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles.

Earlier today, Jaishankar held a series of meeting with ministers from Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world during his visit to Germany. He is in Munich to participate in a security conference.

The minister held bilateral meetings with Foreign Ministers and other delegates who would be attending the conference. (ANI)